Open Discussion With HoHoKus School of Trade and Technical Sciences

Hohokus School of Trade and Technical Sciences Meeting 1Every year the HoHoKus School of Trade and Technical Sciences in Paterson, New Jersey invites business owners and employers from different trade fields to come to their school and have an open discussion with their educators. The business owners and employers in attendance were from an array of trades. The different trades included carpentry, manufacturing, construction, plumbing, property management, retail, electricity, and more. In hosting these meetings, the school hopes to get feedback about their current curriculum. They also hope to get suggestions for changes or additions that could be made to expand their students’ skill sets and in turn help their students get jobs and establish a career.

Throughout the discussion, although most of the attendees were of different trades, there were a lot of commonalities within their suggestions. One recommendation was the importance of “soft skills”. This is a relatively new term described as the important general habits that make a good employee; for example punctuality and attendance. The HoHoKus School of Trade and Technical Sciences’ educators implement these soft skills in their daily education. They teach them the importance of coming in on time, team building and more. The students also show their dedication to building good work habits by coming in early and staying late. The school is going beyond the curriculum by teaching the implied skills employers are looking for in their employees.Hohokus School of Trade and Technical Sciences Meeting 2

Another commonality discussed was that many students may not know the potential for growth in the trades’ career paths. The attendees and the school’s educators were in agreement that it helps to hear about this from a secondary source. Last year, The HoHoKus School of Trade and Technical Sciences hosted a field trip to Convertech Inc. in Wharton, New Jersey. One of the Convertech Inc. machinists took the students on a tour around the shop and talked to them about his growth within Convertech Inc. and in the manufacturing industry. The school has also invited representatives from the different trade fields to speak with the students and they are hoping to continue this going forward. Outside of the classroom experiences are great for the students. They are also great for employers because they can directly speak with their potential employees about the jobs’ expectations.

Business owners cannot grow their company without skilled employees and The HoHoKus School of Trade and Technical Sciences is teaching their students the necessary skills for their students to build a career. The school is always adapting their programs to the needs of the field. They are open to implementing new programs as they did last year with the new Advanced Manufacturing/ Entry-Level CNC Program. The educators care about their students. They host these meetings to do everything they can to give their students a foundation to be successful in the future.

For more information about the HoHoKus School of Trade and Technical Sciences, visit their website


Convertech President Advocates for Educational Programs, Apprenticeships for Machinists

Machinists at Convertech in Wharton, NJ.

As reported by New Jersey Business Magazine, Convertech president Larry Taitel continues to lead the charge for better educational opportunities in the area of manufacturing. Taitel, who was recently invited to join Board of Advisors for Eastwick College and the Hohokus Schools in New Jersey, delivered the keynote speech to the board. He emphasized the importance of increasing hands-on class time hours and manual machining basics for the school’s curriculum; of increasing the number of opportunities that students have in New Jersey for early manufacturing classroom experiences; and for the vital need for traditional four-year machinist apprenticeships that begin at the high school level.

Taitel’s company, which has manufactured products for the printing, labeling and packaging industry for nearly four decades, has hired a number of Eastwick graduates. “The basic skills these students acquired made all the difference in our hiring decisions,” he said. “It’s obvious how much they learned at Eastwick. But we’d like to see Eastwick offer even longer and additional programs. We believe the State has done a great disservice to young students by not even proposing machining as an option. Guidance counselors don’t even mention machining as a possibility and far too many schools have dropped their metal shops and votech programs. We see the results: It has hurt manufacturers and hurt students who, when they are not academically inclined, end up in service jobs, flipping burgers and stocking shelves, instead of acquiring skills that can serve them for life, and careers with few layoffs. It’s time to change that.”

Taitel is currently reaching out to NJ State elected officials to seek their support in bringing manufacturing curriculum back to public schools, and he urges his fellow manufacturers in New Jersey and throughout the country to do the same. “There are more than 10,000 manufacturers in the State of New Jersey alone who have been hurt by our schools dropping metal shop,” he said. “If a fraction of them would come forward and contact their elected officials, this would make a huge impact.”

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About Convertech: Since 1978, Convertech has designed, manufactured and delivered the industry’s highest-quality air shafts and chucks. All products are custom built at Convertech’s 40,000-sq.-ft. facility in Wharton, New Jersey where they are then quality tested before being delivered.