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 passed today by the Assembly. 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 cosponsors of the identical companion measure (A-1294), which has been referred to the Assembly Education Committee. Having passed both the Senate and Assembly, S-1026/A-1294 now heads to the Governor’s desk.
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.
“Establishing the VeTeach Pilot Program would mark a significant achievement in New Jersey’s ongoing efforts to expand career opportunities for our veterans,” remarked the 9th District Delegation.
“We know from having had the opportunity to discuss veterans’ issues with Administrators and faculty staff, Stockton College is an ideal location for this pilot program to be implemented. There, the Program will have all the necessary resources to be successful and serve as a model for similar initiatives in the state. As the State Legislative Representatives for Galloway, and by extension Stockton College, we are proud to work in a bipartisan fashion to advance this important initiative.
“The overall objectives of this legislation are two-fold. Aside from assisting veterans in future career endeavors, the VeTeach Pilot Program is intended to be a proactive approach in addressing a shortage in public school teachers that is anticipated to occur as a result of retirements. Certainly, our school systems would stand to benefit tremendously from having individuals of such high character teaching in the classroom.”
Members of the 9th District Delegation serve on both the Senate and Assembly Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committees. As part of their continuing commitment to address veterans’ issues, Connors, Rumpf and Gove wrote the law enacted last year entitled the “Veteran-Owned Business Assistance Act,” which requires the state to identify strategies to expand the number of veteran-owned businesses that secure state contracts.