After spending 10 years working in television and film production, Michael Livingston wanted to share the knowledge he had gained with others. He enrolled in the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Alternate Route Training Program at Brookdale Community College to transform his experience into an avenue to help the next generation achieve success in the field.

Picture of Michael Livingston.

“I wanted to educate students on how to break into the television and film production business and give them the skills and tools they need to succeed going forward,” Livingston said. “There are so many jobs in the field that don’t involve using a camera or editing, and a lot of young people don’t know about those amazing jobs.” He decided the CTE Alternate Route Teaching Program would be the best way to achieve his goal of educating others about these opportunities.

Livingston choose to attend the Stage I Alternate Route Teaching program at Brookdale because it is located close to his home. “For Stage II of the Alternate Route Teaching Program, Brookdale is the only place to go for the CTE Program, and I was thrilled about it because I was one of the only people who didn’t have to travel far,” he explained.

“CTE plays a critical role in our schools,” said Danielle Hartman, director of curriculum and instruction for the Burlington County Institute of Technology and instructor for the Alternate Route Program at Brookdale. “Currently, we are facing a dire shortage of tradesmen and women,” she explained. The CTE Alternate Program is trying to address that shortage by bringing individuals with knowledge and experience from an array of different trades into classrooms.

“The experience CTE teachers bring is invaluable,” Hartman said. “Someone coming straight from the industry with practical knowledge of the necessary content and skills needed for success is far more valuable than someone who only has theoretical knowledge,” she explained.

Those enrolled in the CTE program come with a background filled with experience in their area. The program focuses on giving the teachers the tools needed to transform their experience into knowledge that can be shared. “The alternate route program features intensive coursework in pedagogy,” Hartman said. “The teachers have the content; we teach them how to instruct students,” she explained.

Already armed with the practical knowledge of the film and television industry, Livingston learned in the CTE program how to share his skills in a classroom. “The cool thing about the CTE program is that you are teaching while you are in the program so you can bring real time problems you may be facing in the classroom to the group and the professor to be able to troubleshoot in real time,” said Livingston. “You get to grow as teachers together,” he said of the experience.

In addition to evolving as a teacher, Livingston also found the professors in the CTE Alternate Route Program to be an invaluable resource. “Professor Art Marshall was really wonderful and taught things that I use every day, and Professor Camilla Reneiro was an incredible teacher who taught me how to run a classroom properly,” he said.

Livingston completed the CTE Alternate Route Program at Brookdale in 2016. “Since finishing the program, I have gone on to teach full time and continue to use the lessons I learned at Brookdale to make me a better educator,” he said.

For more information about Brookdale’s Alternate Route Teaching Programs, please visit