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As Cumberland County College and Rowan College at Gloucester County continue to explore a potential merger of the two institutions, public forums have been scheduled to provide community members an opportunity to ask questions and share their opinions about the proposal.

Cumberland County College will host an all-day robotics event this month to help new and prospective team members experience what it’s like to be in a real competition.

FIRST Tech Challenge New Jersey and South Jersey Robotics have partnered to bring the Autumn Outreach Scrimmage to Cumberland’s campus, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sept. 22.

Through the FIRST Tech Challenge program, teams of students in grades 7 to 12 are challenged to design, build and program a robot to compete in a floor game against other teams’ creations. Winning teams advance from local qualifying tournaments to state championships before ultimately advancing to the World Championship Tournament, held each April.

Students who participate in FIRST Tech Challenge are eligible to apply for more than $50 million in scholarships to colleges and universities throughout the country.

The scrimmage takes place in the Student Center gymnasium, 3322 College Drive, Vineland, and is free to attend. Student participants, parents, teachers and spectators are welcome.

Students with questions about how to participate as a team can email vincent.frascella@baesystems.com.

Atlantic Cape partners with Mercer County for medical lab program

Students interested in pursuing a career in medical laboratory technology can do so through a cooperative program between Atlantic Cape and Mercer County community colleges.

The Medical Laboratory Technology Program is designed to prepare students for a career as a medical laboratory technician. Medical laboratory professionals work in all the departments of the clinical laboratory including the areas of clinical chemistry, hematology, blood bank transfusion services, immunology and microbiology using the principles of chemistry, physiology, cell and molecular biology.

This NACCLS-accredited program is offered in two phases. The first year of study includes courses in general education, mathematics and sciences offered at Atlantic Cape. The second phase, which students must also apply to, includes clinical experiences and is conducted at Mercer County Community College and laboratories located in Mercer, Atlantic and Cape May counties.

For more information, see mccc.edu/mltp.

Area schools achieve 2018 Sustainable Jersey for Schools certification

Five area schools in three districts were part of the 111 schools announced last week as achieving Sustainable Jersey for Schools certification.

The Dawes Avenue and New York Avenue schools in Somers Point, the high school and Ocean Academy in the Cape May County Special Services School District, and Ocean City Intermediate School were named as bronze certified for achieving a balanced portfolio of the program’s sustainability actions, attaining a minimum of 150 points.

On Oct. 23, the certified schools and their districts will be celebrated at a reception during the New Jersey School Boards Association Workshop 2018 in Atlantic City.

Workshop 2018 will feature Sustainable Jersey for Schools sessions along with NJSBA sustainability support programs for schools.

Sustainable Jersey is a nonprofit organization that provides tools, training and financial incentives to support and reward municipalities and schools as they pursue sustainability programs. To date, 303 school districts and 779 schools participate in the program.

Stockton to train young adults for hospitality careers

The Retail, Hospitality and Tourism Talent Network at Stockton University and Stockton’s Office of Continuing Studies plan to announce a new initiative to train young adults for careers in the hospitality and tourism industry and help place them in jobs.

The university plans to release more information about the partnership of agencies and employers during a launch party last week at Little Water Distillery in Atlantic City.

Stockton’s Office of Continuing Studies will lead the Atlantic County Opportunity Youth Collaborative. The grant-funded program is open to those ages 18 to 24 who are not attending school and meet financial requirements.

Other partners are the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism Studies at Stockton, JEVS Human Services and the Atlantic City Police Athletic League.

Proposal expands student tax deduction program

A bipartisan bill to raise the age limit for students to be claimed as a dependent by their parents on state income-tax returns was introduced in the state Assembly last week.

According to co-sponsor Assemblyman Kevin J. Rooney, R-Bergen, the bill increases the age of a college dependent from 22 to 25. Parents can deduct $1,000 on their state income-tax returns if they pay more than half of the tuition bill and the student attends college full time. This is in addition to a $1,500 deduction for each dependent, which is extended for students up to age 24.

“Paying college tuition isn’t cheap,” Rooney said. “It takes many students more than four years to finish, and time is money — especially for parents who are footing the bill while their son or daughter lives at home.”

Other sponsors are Assemblymen Gordon M. Johnson, D-Bergen, and Christopher P. DePhillips, R-Bergen, Essex, Morris, Passaic.

— Claire Lowe

I began covering South Jersey in 2008 after graduating from Rowan University with a degree in journalism. I joined The Press in 2015. In 2013, I was awarded a NJPA award for feature writing as a reporter for The Current of Hamilton Township.