Paterson Public Schools in New Jersey have been struggling to fill vacancies as the province’s economy lags behind the rest of the country.
But a new pilot program, which is set to run until April 2019, will give some schools in the city’s South Ward an edge over their competitors in the private sector.
The program will bring together schools and the state to recruit talent in areas including fashion, art, music and architecture.
A year after it was launched, the programme has already drawn about 50 students and is expected to have 100 graduates.
“We think this program is going to be the most significant achievement we have ever made, and it’s going to change how the public sector operates,” said Paterson Superintendent of Schools Thomas Mays.
“This program will create jobs in Paterson and create opportunities for our students.
It will be an exciting time for us.”
The programme is part of the Paterson’s plan to attract and retain talent in the region, which has struggled for years with a lack of high-tech jobs.
Paterson has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state at 11 percent, according to the latest figures from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“We’re very proud of our record of attracting talent and keeping people here, but we know there are areas of our economy that we need to improve, and this program will help us make the most of what we have,” said Mays, who is also superintendent of the state’s two other public schools.
The programme is expected be able to hire about half of its graduates, he said.
Mays said the program is being piloted in the South Ward because Paterson does not have a high-school placement program like the city does.
The district, however, is planning to create a separate school for the same age group, and hopes to be able expand the programme to include some of the districts’ schools.
The program will take about a year to build, and is designed to allow the district to bring in some talent from outside the city and offer the district a competitive advantage.
It’s expected to cost about $20,000 per year to operate.
“The beauty school program will give Paterson students a competitive edge over other districts in the area,” said John Jolliffe, CEO of the New Jersey Education Association, a union representing teachers.
“It will help our students to succeed in school and make Paterson an attractive place for those who want to go to college and the workforce.”
Paterson is already one of New Jersey’s fastest-growing districts.
It saw more than 3,000 students enter its program in the past year, according the New York Times.
In 2018, the district also had more than 400 students take the SAT.