– Language crafted by Reps. Seth Grove (R-Dover) and Kate Klunk (R-Hanover) to improve career and technical education (CTE) in Pennsylvania and included in House Bill 265
was signed into law Wednesday, the representatives announced.
“This is a huge step forward for education in the Commonwealth,” Klunk said. “The skills gap in Pennsylvania is a nonpartisan problem and I am proud the General Assembly was able to present, and gain approval for, a bipartisan solution.”
There is a shortage of trained workers to fill open manufacturing positions, largely due to a decades-long push to encourage students to attend a four-year college. According to the U.S. Labor Department, there were nearly 500,000 open manufacturing jobs in the country as of August 2019, the most recent month statistics are available.
“We are witnessing a resurgence in United States manufacturing. For far too long, consumers were hard-fought to find ‘Made in the USA’ on products they want to purchase. Thankfully, the number of American-made products on store shelves is increasing,” Grove said. “House Bill 265, and all the bills amended into it, were developed from recommendations found in a CTE readiness report issued by the House Select Subcommittee, which I chaired.”
House Bill 265 was amended to include several bills to improve CTE. The amendment included bills crafted by Grove and Klunk.
Grove’s House Bill 334 would create an easier-to-navigate process for schools to establish and renew vocational programs. Specifically, the bill would instruct the Pennsylvania Department of Education to create guidelines to allow a student to receive course credit at a vocational-technical school, technical institution or vocational school for successful completion of a course, program or activity in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM).
“Education is the key ingredient to improving our overall economy and the lives of workers who will fill these open jobs,” Grove said. “Instead of arbitrarily raising the minimum wage, which would harm small businesses, the well-thought initiatives laid out in this law will guide Pennsylvanians to good jobs with family-sustaining wages.”
House Bill 796, authored by Klunk and Reps. Aaron Bernstine (R-Lawrence/Beaver/Butler) and Jared Solomon (D-Philadelphia), would establish a pilot grant program that would encourage schools and local businesses to collaborate to provide work-based learning opportunities for high school students. The pilot program is based on a successful partnership in southcentral Pennsylvania between the Hanover Area Chamber of Commerce, numerous Hanover-area businesses, the Hanover Public School District and South Western School District.
“I am extremely proud of the hard work put in by my hometown to better prepare students for long-term careers and jobs that pay well right here in Pennsylvania.,” Klunk said. “This is a fine example of not reinventing the wheel, but rather finding an existing solution to a widespread problem. I look forward to seeing this proven recipe for success replicated throughout the state.”
Representative Seth Grove
Representative Kate Klunk
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Greg Gross