Middlesex County Vocational and Technical Schools will soon offer an agricultural and aquacultural workforce training program to educate workers and help address food insecurity in Middlesex County.
Funding for the program, to the tune of $300,200, was announced by U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-6th District, on May 5. It comes from the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2022, a $1.5 trillion dollar federal spending bill signed by President Joe Biden on March 15.
“This program will help train the next generation of farmers and fishermen in new technology so they can lead fulfilling careers in the agricultural and fishing industries in our region,” said Pallone. “This funding will also allow families in need in Middlesex County to access fresh vegetables, helping to address food insecurity in our community.”
Middlesex County Board of County Commissioners Director Ronald Rios said that with the new program, “[f]ood innovation is a crucial element in the county’s economic development strategy. Our goal, as part of Destination 2040 – our strategic plan for long-term economic success – is to attract, retain, and expand businesses in key industries like food innovation … [w]e are building the future of agriculture right here in Middlesex County.”
The program is meant to ensure a pipeline of agriculture and aquaculture workers to farms in New Jersey, where the average age of a farmer is 62.
An announcement on the program did not provide further details on the length of the program or when it will be up and running.