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Committee Advances 9th District Delegation Supported “VETeach” Pilot Program Initiative

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Legislation that would establish a pilot teacher preparation program at Richard Stockton College for veterans who served in the armed forces on or after September 11, 2001 was advanced today by the Senate Education Committee. Senator Christopher J. Connors is a prime sponsor of S-1026 along with Senator James Whelan. Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove are co-sponsors of the identical companion measure (A-1294), which has been referred to the Assembly Education Committee.

Under the legislation, the 36-month teacher program would lead to a baccalaureate degree and completion of the requirements necessary to apply to the State Board of Examiners for a certificate of eligibility with advanced standing, which would authorize the veteran to seek employment as a teacher in grades K through 8, and in certain secondary education fields. Educational expenses incurred by these eligible students will be covered under the “Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act,” also known as the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

“The tremendous benefits of this legislation are two-fold. Our veterans would be offered a unique opportunity to pursue employee opportunities in the education field. Additionally, the state’s future generation of teachers would consist of more veterans who would bring to the classroom the tremendous qualities displayed in their service to our country,” the 9th District Delegation remarked.

“We remain committed to increasing economic opportunities in the state for our veterans. Statistics continue to show disturbing disparities in the unemployment rate whereby veterans returning from service are unemployed at a higher rate than the national average. For this reason, our Delegation spearheaded the effort on legislation recently signed into law that established the Veteran-Owned Business Assistance Act. Under this recently enacted law, the Department of the Treasury, the Economic Development Authority (EDA) and the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMAVA) have been directed to identify strategies to expand the number of veteran-owned businesses interested in and eligible to secure state contracts.

“We are also supportive of this legislation as a Stockton initiative. Following redistricting, the 9th Legislative District now includes Galloway and, by extension, Stockton College. Our Delegation is proud to now represent Galloway and we are eager to help advance policy initiatives, such as the VETeach Pilot Program, that allow Stockton to continue to be a leader in the state’s higher education community.”

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