House approves Career and Technical Education package

HARRISBURG, April 30 – A package of bipartisan bills boosting Career and Technical Education was approved by the House today, according to state Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, a strong supporter of the legislation.

“I am pleased these bills passed, which will go a long way toward closing the skills gap and helping students and workers become career ready,” said Longietti, a member of the House Education Committee. “There is a growing need for non-degree CTE credentials, which can lead to good-paying jobs and satisfying careers.”

The bills include H.B. 2155, a measure that would reform certification requirements for CTE teachers by emphasizing work experience in the field over additional course credits. 

“In eliminating redundant course credits while increasing hands-on work experience in the field, we can attract additional qualified CTE teachers while boosting quality,” Longietti said.

House Bill 2156 would provide tax credits to businesses which invest in schools offering CTE programs to students. Schools may use these funds to purchase relevant equipment and create career training programs. Scholarships would also be made available to post-secondary students pursuing a CTE credential.

“Mercer County business leaders have stressed to me the growing need for a skilled workforce,” Longietti said. “This tax credit program would allow local businesses to invest in area schools offering CTE and in the students who represent their future workforce.”

Additionally, H.B. 2158 would provide all students in grades 4 through 12 at least one opportunity to receive career information from career presenters and it would open schools to a wide range of educational contributors. 

“It is critical that we expose students to career pathways from an early age through high school,” Longietti added. “Additionally, we must ensure that career presenters, including businesses, community colleges and trade schools, have equal access to schools, and House Bill 2158 would do just that.”

Other bills in the package include:

  • H.B. 2157 that would speed the process for the classification of instructional programs;

  • H.B. 2159 that would expand the database that allows courses, programs, certifications and diplomas to transfer among public schools and colleges;

  • H.B. 2203 that would create an online CTE resource center;

  • H.B. 2204 that would encourage a continuum of career and workforce development;

  • H.B. 2205 that would allow CTE programs to establish occupational advisory committees at the Intermediate Unit level to serve multiple school districts or Career and Technical Centers; and

  • H.B. 2206 that would require Workforce Development Boards to include an administrator of a CTE center.

The bills were approved by the House Education Committee earlier this month and are part of Plan4PA, the House Democrats’ proposal for creating and sustaining good jobs.