New Statewide Report Talks about CTE’s Role in State’s Economic Development

 PLEASANT GAP, PA (January 10, 2019) — PA Schools Work (PASW), a nonpartisan statewide movement working to make sure public schools are fully and fairly funded, together with Jennifer Myers, Vice President of Economic Development for the Chamber of Business & Industry of Centre County (CBICC) and Dr. Richard C. Makin, President of the Central PA Institute of Science and Technology (CPI), today discussed the vital role of career and technical education (CTE) in supporting Pennsylvania’s economic development during a press conference at CPI.

The event highlighted a new report, “Skilled Workers Needed: Ensuring Investments in Career and Technical Education,” produced by PASW partner Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children.

“Workforce development truly is key to Pennsylvania’s economic development, but with member school districts paying 90 percent of the overall budget to send students to career and technical education centers, CTE quality and access could be compromised,” said Kari King, President and CEO of Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children. “We’re asking policymakers to prioritize CTE funding so that we can fill the jobs requiring a CTE background.”

Career and technical education allows high school students to prepare to enter the workforce directly after high school, saving students and their families thousands of dollars in postsecondary tuition and training costs. It prepares students for a range of in-demand jobs that can offer pathways to careers in new media, health care, construction, today’s high-tech manufacturing sector and even the law.

However, a lack of sustained investments in CTE funding, and more broadly, basic education funding, has caused limited access for students who wish to enter the workforce immediately following graduation.

“The $10 million investment in the Career and Technical Education Subsidy was an important

first step in last year’s budget, as was the PAsmart initiative,” said Jackie Cullen, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Association of Career and Technical Administrators (PACTA). “Creating educational and career pathways for students is crucial to maintaining a competitive workforce, fostering economic growth and bolstering Pennsylvania’s middle class.”

According to the report, Pennsylvania currently has 74 career and technical education centers that educate approximately 55,000 students across the Commonwealth. PA Schools Work and its partner organizations are calling for an additional investment of $10 million in the CTE subsidy as part of the 2019-20 state budget.

“Employers across Centre County and across Pennsylvania support career and technical education because students will have gained on-the-job skills, completed a pre-apprenticeship or earned higher education credits – making them ready and willing to join the workforce,” said Myers.

“This report makes a strong case for what we already know: career and technical education is a critical part of delivering the quality education students deserve from their public schools,” Dr. Makin said. “Our mission at CPI is to produce highly competent individuals who are prepared and motivated to pursue the high-skill careers of the 21st century. It would not be possible for us to deliver that promise without the support of our state policymakers.”

PA Schools Work is a non-partisan coalition of organizations from across Pennsylvania representing teachers and other educators; urban, suburban and rural communities; and parents and other community members working together to advocate for PA public schools, their students and the communities they serve.

A copy of the report is available here, with sources here.

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