Policy Committee shines spotlight on career and technical education

Rep. Haddock hosts hearing to examine positive gains in CTE

OLD FORGE, Aug. 29 – Meeting the needs of the state’s economy includes funding career and technical education that can respond to the ever-changing needs of emerging business and technology. The House Majority Policy Committee explored the growing demand for career and technical education, which has a built-in pipeline to foster students from the classroom to the workforce. 

“Technical education continues to experience growth throughout Pennsylvania, but the increase in students has still not met the demands for skilled workers in our economy,” said Rep. Jim Haddock, who hosted the hearing and is a graduate of Wilkes-Barre Vo Tech. “We heard testimony about the millions of well-paying unfilled technical jobs in our workforce, and we also heard how introducing younger students – in middle school – to career and technical education could help fill gaps in our workforce. It not only builds interest in these fields at a younger age, but it helps end the stigma of not attending a traditional four-year college.”

The bipartisan budget signed by Governor Josh Shapiro earlier this month will funnel more than $30 million to expand career and technical programs, fund the Schools-to-Work Program and fund apprenticeship programs.

The Policy hearing at Old Forge School District featured testimony from Erin Keating, Old Forge School District superintendent; Anthony Guariglia, Wilkes-Barre Area Career and Technical Education administrative director; Dan Kuba, Department of Labor and Industry Secretary for Workforce Development; and Warren Faust, Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation (SMART) Workers International President.

“Almost every report on the subject amplifies a similar message, there is no one-size-fits-all approach for education,” Policy Chairman Ryan Bizzarro said. “While a traditional four-year college might be perfect for some, it cannot be the only option. The need for a specific type of skilled labor can change overnight, and as a state we must be vigilant in supporting career technology since it offers students the flexibility to learn as they earn.”

Information about this hearing and other House Majority Policy Committee hearings can be found at pahouse.com/policy. Testimony for today’s hearing can be found at https://bit.ly/829Policy. Photos to be used for publication can be found at pahouse.com/PolicyCommittee/Galleries.