– Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed on Wednesday legislation by Rep. Seth Grove (R-Dover), which would have helped Pennsylvania’s students better prepare for the workforce. House Bill 2157
, part of a comprehensive bipartisan package of bills to improve workforce development by advancing career and technical education (CTE), would have made it easier for schools to establish and renew vocational programs.
In response to the governor’s veto, Grove issued the following statement:
“I am disappointed Gov. Wolf inexplicably chose to veto bipartisan legislation to strengthen CTE in the Commonwealth and prepare our students for jobs of the future. House Bill 2157 passed with unanimous bipartisan support in the House, had only three negative votes in the Senate and received the backing of the Pennsylvania Association of Career and Technical Administrators, Pennsylvania Association of Agriculture Educators and the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA).
“At no point during the legislative process did Wolf’s administration ever approach me or my office to raise any concerns about the bill. In reading Wolf’s veto message, he claims House Bill 2157 would remove the ability of the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) to approve agriculture career and technical programs, thus jeopardizing federal Perkins Funding. Had Wolf actually read the bill, he would have discovered the bill does NOT take program approval authority away from PDE so it cannot possibly impair a school’s ability to receive CTE funding from PDE or Perkins Funding from the federal government.
House Bill 2157 merely gives the Commission for Agriculture Education Excellence the authority to issue and update guidelines to allow a student to use academic credit toward the completion of an agriculture education program. Since the secretary of Education sits on the commission, such guidelines would not be created in a vacuum, but in conjunction with PDE. House Bill 2157 does not even mention PDE program approval authority. Furthermore, the Wolf administration and the commission have NOT been working to do anything because its chairman, Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera, has made zero effort to schedule a meeting of the commission.
“I find it ironic Wolf, who claims to champion workforce development, opted to quash a commonsense and bipartisan bill. Had Wolf signed House Bill 2157 into law, we could have made it easier for schools to adapt to the changing landscape in America’s growing manufacturing industry. When the governor vetoes commonsense CTE legislation, it’s not hard to imagine why Pennsylvania has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country and ranks in the bottom half for economic growth and job creation.
“While we are witnessing a renaissance in United States manufacturing, there is a shortage of trained workers to fill open manufacturing positions due to decades of neglect. According to the U.S. Labor Department, 189,000 manufacturing jobs were added this year with 18,000 added in September alone. However, there were still 488,000 unfilled manufacturing positions. About 93 percent of manufacturers in the country are expecting to grow their businesses. Unfortunately, Wolf’s irresponsible decision places Pennsylvania at a competitive disadvantage to grow manufacturing and other family-sustaining jobs in the Commonwealth.
“Wolf’s inability to work across the aisle on one of the most simple and bipartisan issues in Harrisburg is troubling and will result in making it more difficult for schools across Pennsylvania to properly educate our future workers. House Bill 2157 would have helped our resurging manufacturing industry to continue to grow and thrive. This, in turn, would have aided our middle class and our state’s economic growth. The governor’s veto of this bill sets back Pennsylvania’s economy and our students’ futures.”
Representative Seth Grove
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Greg Gross