- Middlesex County Magnet Schools
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Magnet Schools name Chris Gioffre as “Business Partner of the Year”
28 November 2023 · Joseph Bakes
When Christopher Gioffre is hiring a new employee, he is more interested in the candidate’s character than in his technical ability.
Gioffre, service director of the Ray Catena Auto Group, who has found what he is looking for among Middlesex County Magnet Schools students, is the district’s 2023 Business Partner of the Year.
“Character is foremost,” he said. “Skills can be learned on the job. Character and integrity cannot.”
“We depend on our business partners to keep our career curriculums current and to provide employment opportunities for our students,” said Superintendent of Schools Jorge E. Diaz. “Mr. Gioffre has been an outstanding advocate for our program and our students at Ray Catena Auto Group.”
Gioffre has been instrumental in forging a connection with the automotive technology programs at East Brunswick, Perth Amboy, and Piscataway Magnet Schools, encouraging his service managers to speak with classes and visiting the schools himself.
Two of the automotive instructors, Kenneth Colavito in East Brunswick and Michael Perpente in Perth Amboy have worked for Ray Catena Auto Group under Gioffre.
“We have a familial relationship,” he said. “We know them so well, and they know what kind of kids we’re looking for.”
“Mr. Gioffre is an exceptional individual who stands out not only for his remarkable skills and expertise but also for his unwavering commitment to excellence and collaborative spirit,” Colavito said. “What truly distinguishes Mr. Gioffre is his ability to inspire and elevate those around him. He is a key component to the success of our automotive programs, leaving an indelible impact.”
Gioffre hires students for part-time work after school and then offers many of them full-time jobs after they graduate. At any given time, there are five or six Magnet School students working for Ray Catena Auto Group.
“They stay with us from stem to stern, and if they hold up their end of the bargain, they will have a job with us after they are finished with school,” Gioffre said.
“We stress that their schooling is most important -- that has to be the priority,” he added.
“Anybody we hire has to be good people and fit in with everybody else,” he said. “The work environment is very important.”
Ray Catena Auto Group is not just looking for mechanics and technicians, Gioffre said, but tries to put new hires where they will be comfortable, which could be in the parts department or the business office.
“The fit has to be good for us and for the kids,” he said. “The kids are like my family – that’s how we treat them.”
Ray Catena Auto Group has 21 locations in New Jersey and New York, specializing in luxury cars, such as Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, BMW, Porsche and Audi.
About Middlesex County Magnet Schools
Middlesex County Magnet Schools enroll nearly 2,300 high school students and more than 700 adult education students annually. Established in 1914 by the Middlesex County Board of County Commissioners as the country's first vocational and technical high school district, the district fulfills an essential need for free occupational training across the State of New Jersey. Students in the district benefit from 33 distinct career program offerings on campuses situated in five Middlesex County municipalities: East Brunswick, Edison, Perth Amboy, Piscataway, and Woodbridge.
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