Written By: Carissa Gurgul
This past April, the House Education Committee announced the advancement of nine bills intended to further career and technical education within the state of Pennsylvania, a response to gathered data showing need for improvement. The hopes of the bills would be that they would begin to fill the need to offer more resources for those who are not fit for the process of a four year degree and make these resources more readily available, address workforce labor shortages, strengthen partnerships between educational institutions and businesses, a risen awareness of the benefits of such programs and career paths, and more. According to Democratic chairman of the House of Education Committee, Jim Roebuck, in 2017 alone, more than 67,000 high school students across the state of PA participated in Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs.
In addition, several PA career and technical centers have recently been receiving funding for necessary equipment upgrades. Governor Tom Wolf announced that the Pennsylvania Department of Education were planning to distribute $1.2 million to 38 different centers across the state. These grants are a response to an increase in demand of skilled workers, as their hope is that this funding will allow the opportunity for more people to gain the skills needed to succeed in the workforce. With large numbers of current STEM employees on the cusp of retirement, improving STEM education is a win-win for both employees and students – it provides employees with the opportunity to further their education and skills to land one of these stellar job positions, and will begin to diminish the employment gap by providing qualified applicants.
On a more national scale, President Donald Trump recently released a plan to strengthen education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) for all people in the United States, a continuation of efforts to improve STEM education since taking office. The White House aims to increase diversity in STEM fields, as well as ensure quality training for students so that the STEM field can prosper in the future workforce and the U.S. can hold its current position as global leader. The plan was created by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Science and Technology Committee on STEM education. In addition to this new plan, since taking office, President Trump has established the National Council for the American Worker to ensure all necessary training and education is being provided to students, signed the reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act supporting career and technical education programs, signed a presidential memorandum directing the Department of Education to make STEM and computer science education a top priority, where a $200 million a year budget towards STEM education is allotted, signed the INSPIRE act directing NASA to encourage women to pursue careers in STEM, and signed legislation for the National Science Foundation to better support women inventors.
Hoops, Rachel. “State Lawmakers Aim to Improve Career & Technical Education in Pennsylvania.” PAHOMEPAGE, PAHOMEPAGE, 18 Apr. 2018, https://www.pahomepage.com/news/state-lawmakers-aim-to-improve-career-technical-education-in-pennsylvania/1128917503.
News 69. “Career and Technical Centers Receive Funding for Equipment Upgrades.” WFMZ, WFMZ, 28 Nov. 2018, https://www.wfmz.com/news/berks/career-and-technical-centers-receive-funding-for-equipment-upgrades/896679309.
“President Donald J. Trump Is Working to Ensure All Americans Have Access to STEM Education.” The White House, The United States Government, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/president-donald-j-trump-is-working-to-ensure-all-americans-have-access-to-stem-education/.
Reykdal, Chris, and Ray Conner. “Career and Technical Education Is Win-Win for Students, Job Creators.” The Seattle Times, The Seattle Times Company, 15 Nov. 2018, https://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/career-and-technical-education-is-win-win-for-students-job-creators/.