Polytech students are prepared to meet real-world design needs through the Bridging the Gap program

Commercial arts and advertising design students at Hunterdon County Polytech Career & Technical High School, led by instructor Teresa Diaz and in partnership with local Rotary clubs, are launching design businesses through the Bridging the Gap program.

According to the district, the students have the skills, what they need are clients — local businesses, community groups, nonprofits, individuals — who are looking for design help.

In the past, students in the program have helped with websites, logos and branding packages, menus, banners, t-shirts and dresses, album covers, jewelry, portraits of animals, house renderings, landscaping, and even tattoos. The talents and interests of students are as varied as the companies they hope to attract.

The Bridging the Gap job fair has been set for Friday, April 1. Interested clients are encouraged to click here to learn more about attending the career fair, where they will have the opportunity to interview students and identify an ideal partner to help them execute their unique design projects. .

The job fair will take place from 8:15 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the Bartles campus of Polytech, 8 Bartles Corner Road, Flemington. Participants will meet each student, who will share a portfolio of artwork. Clients should arrive with design goals to discuss with students and a budget in mind.

“We’re looking for clients who are excited to mentor these young professionals,” Diaz said. “We want our community customers to maintain an open dialogue with our students to provide them with valuable feedback. Ultimately, clients will get exceptional artwork to suit their needs, and our students will learn invaluable skills, from interviewing and negotiating to maintaining clear and effective communication to complete a project.

Throughout the Bridging the Gap experience, students are mentored by Diaz and members of the Clinton Sunrise and North Hunterdon Rotary Clubs, who volunteer their time to help students understand how to structure their novice freelance design business.

Diaz added that the experience helps many students realize how they can make a living doing what they love. “There have been so many students over the years who have actually run this business that they started in my program,” she said. “I made students pay for college by freelancing. It’s really cool to see.

Businesses, nonprofits, community organizations, and individuals interested in using students’ art and design skills should complete the Google Form by March 28 to virtually meet with students. Contact Diaz at tdiaz@hcvsd.org, or 908-788-1119, ext. 2021 for more information.

Abdul J. Gaspar