HARRISBURG, DAUPHIN COUNTY – Members of the House today announced that the House Education Committee has advanced to the full House a bipartisan, nine-bill package to enhance Career and Technical Education (CTE) in Pennsylvania, according to the committee chairmen Reps. Dave Hickernell (R-Lancaster/Dauphin) and James Roebuck (D-Philadelphia).
The package of bills is the result of hearings held and data gathered from 2015 to 2016 by the former Select Subcommittee on Technical Education and Career Readiness.
“Shortly after I was appointed to chair the Education Committee in 2016, Chairman Jim Roebuck and I met to discuss education issues,” Hickernell said. “We quickly agreed that the committee should continue to focus on career and technical education and we have been working hard on this effort ever since.”
This bipartisan effort began in 2015, when House Resolution 102 was unanimously adopted by the House of Representatives. This resolution created the Select Subcommittee on Technical Education and Career Readiness. This select subcommittee traveled the state and gathered data and testimony on CTE.
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to education issues,” Hickernell said. “Many students graduate from a four-year college with a large amount of debt and very few prospects for a job that matches the degree they spent a lot of time and effort earning. While a four-year degree may work for some people, many others find great-paying and fulfilling careers after attending a trade school or some other form of technical training.”
These bills aim to address business and industry workforce shortages, strengthen educational partnerships with business and industry, increase access to CTE programs, and alleviate misperceptions regarding CTE by highlighting the benefits of these programs, training opportunities and future earnings potential to all students.
“As Democratic chairman of the House Education Committee, I am committed to improving the delivery of CTE programs to those who need them most,” Roebuck said. “Just last year, more than 67,000 Pennsylvania high school students were able to participate in CTE programs. This bipartisan package of legislation – especially my two bills – would build upon the success we have already achieved, while also giving stakeholders a voice to make much-needed changes.”
The following bills were reported unanimously by the House Education Committee with no amendments on Monday, April 16:
House Bill 2155 would amend the Public School Code of 1949 to provide for new vocational instructional certification requirements. Sponsored by Rep. Steve Bloom (R-Cumberland).
House Bill 2156 would create the Career and Technical Education Partnership Tax Credit Program. Tax credits are available to business firms that contribute to career and technical partnership organizations. The available tax credits are capped at $15 million in a fiscal year; DCED will increase the aggregate tax credit amount by $5 million if 90% of the tax credit amount is used during the prior fiscal year. Sponsored by Rep. Mike Tobash (R-Schuylkill/Dauphin).
House Bill 2157 would amend the Public School Code of 1949 to require the Commission for Agriculture Education Excellence to issue guidelines and the PA Department of Education to issue guidelines and expedite the approval process for schools to initiate new CTE programs. Sponsored by Rep. Seth Grove (R-York).
House Bill 2158 would require a school entity to seek representatives of career presenters and considered all career presenters equally. In addition, the Department of Education, in collaboration with the Department of Labor and Industry, will develop and annually update standard career informational materials. Sponsored by Rep. Zack Mako (R-Lehigh/Northampton).
House Bill 2159 would amend the Public School Code of 1949 to expand an online database of articulation agreements. Sponsored by Rep. Craig Staats (R-Bucks).
House Bill 2203 would require the Department of Education, in consultation with the Department of Labor and Industry and the Department of Agriculture, to create and annually update an easily assessable online career resource center. Sponsored by Rep. Pat Harkins (D-Erie).
House Bill 2204 would require the Department of Education, in consultation with the Department of Labor and Industry, to create a workforce development program clearinghouse. The Department of Education will report its findings and actions to the Senate and House chairmen and minority chairmen of the Appropriations and Education Committees. Sponsored by Rep. Gerald Mullery (D-Luzerene).
House Bill 2205 would amend the Public School Code of 1949 to allow CTE programs to establish an occupational advisory committee at the Intermediate Unit level. Sponsored by Rep. James Roebuck (D-Philadelphia).
House Bill 2206 would amend the Workforce Development Act by adding at least one member to each Workforce Development Board. Sponsored by Rep. James Roebuck (D-Philadelphia).