Way No. 16: Career & Technical Education

Innovative Career Programs Would Help More High-School Students Succeed

Employers with Good Jobs Also Benefit 

The Wolf budget would invest $15 million for innovative career and technical education to establish or strengthen programs that prepare high school students for skilled jobs in auto repair, health care, high-tech start-ups and other middle-class careers through partnerships with employers. Students can earn college credit and industry credentials and work in internships, summer jobs, co-op programs and apprenticeships. The Wolf budget also includes $5 million for Career and Technical Education (CTE) Equipment Grants, with priority going to schools that have matching contributions from employers or others.

Reflecting the potential for bipartisan support, Republican state Rep. Ryan Mackenzie has proposed CareerBound legislation (HB 725). CareerBound would encourage collaboration among schools, businesses and the workforce system to develop school-to-work programs that provide students with early exposure to an array of opportunities, including career expos, job shadowing, internships and other career-education integration initiatives.

Pennsylvania is positioned to become a leader in innovative school-to-career programs because it has invested, going back to the Schweiker administration, in building training consortia of companies with common skill needs, called Industry Partnerships. As Reps. Mackenzie and Marc Gergly said in a joint letter to Gov. Wolf on June 24: “From Pittsburgh to the Lehigh Valley, a revitalized Industry Partnership program can help educators develop up-to-date curriculum; expand work-based learning opportunities via co-op, internship and apprenticeship programs; provide paid summer jobs; and collaborate in spreading industry-recognized credentials and certifications articulated with academic credit.”

Building on strong partnerships among employers with middle-class jobs, all that Pennsylvania needs to begin making high school work better for more students -- and employers -- is a state budget that invests in school to-career programs.

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