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GOP candidate Ciattarelli stresses vocational training and jobs in Atlantic City

GOP candidate Ciattarelli stresses vocational training and jobs in Atlantic City

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NJAC

Republican gubernatorial candidate Jack Ciattarelli addresses the New Jersey Association of Counties' annual meeting Thursday at Caesars Atlantic City.

ATLANTIC CITY — Republican gubernatorial candidate Jack Ciattarelli on Thursday pledged to focus on vocational training amid labor shortages in the state, as he spoke to county workers on the final day of the three-day New Jersey Association of Counties annual conference at Caesars Atlantic City.

“I do believe strongly we need to get back to basics in our public school systems; in teaching critical life skills and more emphasis on vocational training — not all kids want or need to go to college,” the candidate said. “As a parent of four, I’ve got three who are college graduates and the bills to show it, but one of them went into the trades and he is doing extremely well as a licensed diesel mechanic.

“It’s the right thing to do for industry,” said the former state assemblyman, who is challenging Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy. “If you’re campaigning around this state, as I’ve been for the past 22 months, everywhere you go, ‘I can’t find CDLs. I can’t find welders.’”

Last year’s conference was held virtually due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. This year’s event saw a similar number of in-person attendance as 2019, which, according to NJAC Executive Director John Donnadio, was their “best year ever.”

“Everyone was so happy to see each other in person after two long years,” Donnadio said Thursday.

Participants attended workshops on rules for spending federal COVID-19 aid, working with the news media, handling communications during crises and more.

NJAC plans to return to Atlantic City in May 2022.

Ciattarelli, a former Somerset County freeholder, also touched on what he believes to be the importance of county governance.

“It’s the only regional service provider in the state,” he said.

Murphy addressed the meeting Wednesday morning, thanking county workers for making early voting happen in the general election.

Early in-person voting runs Oct. 23 to 31. Election Day is Nov. 2.

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