Hearing details support needed for career and technical education

Majority Policy Committee highlights benefits of technical education

HARRISBURG, April 12 – The House Majority Policy Committee heard from testifiers detailing the importance of career and technical education and how it enhances Pennsylvania’s workforce.  

“A college education is not the perfect fit or even a possibility for every student,” said Rep. Roni Green, who hosted the hearing. “I am a product and living proof of that reality, having graduated from Dobbins Technical School, and I can honestly say the education and skills I learned in technical education have helped me throughout my life.”       

The committee heard from testifiers Kyle Bucholtz, a teacher at Millcreek Township School District; Joseph Tarasovitch, the principal at Erie County Technical School; and Dr. Lee Burket, the director of the bureau of career and technical education with the Pennsylvania Department of Education.  

Bucholtz oversees McDowell’s student-run enterprise, McDowell Manufacturing, where students run the business side, manufacturing, packaging and quality assurance. McDowell Manufacturing has created an estimated 15,000 parts for OEM, the plastics industry and the packaging industry. Bucholtz noted that students involved in McDowell Manufacturing have the same type of pride that they have witnessed from students involved in other extracurriculars, including the athletic teams.  

“I would encourage anyone to visit and tour Millcreek School District and McDowell Manufacturing,” House Majority Policy Chairman Ryan Bizzarro said. Bizzarro represents part of Erie County, including Millcreek Township School District. “What I’ve seen firsthand is a statewide model that exceeds expectations and builds confidence in students, and I’m convinced we could provide this type of option in most schools throughout the state.” 

Burket testified there is a career and technical education teacher shortage and the career and technical centers do have funding limitations – relying on local school districts to fund them. However, she noted that under Gov. Josh Shapiro’s budget proposal, the formula used for career and technical centers will be fully funded.  

Tarasovitch, the principal at Erie County Technical School, noted the importance of career and technical education in creating opportunities for students. In the last year, the school benefitted from a $60,000 state supplemental equipment grant, which allows students to stay competitive and learn the skills they need to enter the workforce.    

Information about this hearing and other House Majority Policy Committee hearings can be found at pahouse.com/policy. Testimony from today’s hearing can be found here. A recording of this hearing can be found here. Photos to be used for publication can be found at pahouse.com/PolicyCommittee/Galleries.