Father Judge earns $150,000 grant for new welding program

The Archdiocesan Educational Fund last week awarded Father Judge High School a grant of $150,000 for the 2019-2020 academic/fiscal year.

The funded program will support the school’s welding program within its new Career & Technical Education curriculum.

Matthew H. McCloskey Jr. (1893-1973), building contractor and U.S. Ambassador to Ireland (1962-64), created and funded the charitable organization in 1967 to advance Catholic education and evangelization throughout the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

“Not every student wants or should go to college,” said Matthew H. McCloskey IV, president of the Archdiocesan Educational Fund. “Father Judge’s leaders recognized this fact and made a strong and solid case for expanding the school’s curriculum beyond college prep to include career and technical education for students who want to go right to the workplace.

“Mercy Career & Technical has been doing this for many years,” he added, “but there’s been nothing like this in … Northeast Philadelphia… Father Judge is out front on this in the Archdiocese. Their research showed that a welding program, with high academic standards and certification, will produce skilled tradesmen for placement in a high-priority occupation. We’re happy to play a part in Father Judge’s vision, and we’d like to encourage more schools to take this approach.”

The welding program is the first of its kind at the school and will play a role in launching the CTE initiative in the 2019-2020 academic year.  Father Judge intends to implement additional course offerings in CTE over the next five years as part of its strategic plan.

Sister Maureen Lawrence McDermott, I.H.M., superintendent of secondary schools for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Office of Catholic Education, noted, “I am grateful to the McCloskey Family for their generosity and commitment to advancing the mission of Catholic education through the Archdiocesan Educational Fund. The grant is transformational for the Father Judge High School community. It provides school leadership the ability to execute their creative vision to serve students who seek to learn trade skills taught in Career & Technical Education. My hope is that our schools continue to foster similar innovative opportunities to prepare students for success.”

After learning that Judge was awarded the largest grant in school history from the Archdiocesan Educational Fund, president Brian King said, “I am humbled by the Archdiocesan Educational Fund’s decision to invest in our school. This level of financial commitment allows us to create different learning experiences for our students who are interested in exploring programming offered in CTE. This new career pathway, along with our existing rigorous college preparatory program, truly provides something for every one of our students. It is our duty to give students every opportunity and experience to help them utilize their God-given talents. As the school’s patron saint, Saint Francis de Sales, said, “Let them be who they are and be that well.” ••