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NYC School Vocational Programs Threatened by Funding Cut

For the 130 students in the business program at Susan Wagner High School in Staten Island, the opportunity to design and run their own company has been life-changing.

The students are part of a class called Virtual Enterprise – a four-year high school business curriculum where students learn industry skills by creating a mock company. The course is offered in dozens of schools across the city through the Education Department’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) office.

But now the program, like scores of similar ones across the city, is struggling to keep the lights on.

Susan Wagner High School was among 61 city public schools that abruptly lost millions in crucial federal funding for vocational programs this school year after the state changed the eligibility requirements for the money – forcing many to scramble, and some to make significant cutbacks. The financial cuts impact thousands of students – many of whom specifically chose high schools for their vocational offerings.

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