HARRISBURG -May 8, 2019 – The Senate approved bipartisan legislation today that would help generate more interest in Pennsylvania’s career and technical education programs.
Senate Bill 89, sponsored by Senators Vince Hughes (D-Philadelphia) and Ryan P. Aument (R-Lancaster), would remove references to “vocational-technical schools” in the Public School Code and replace them with “career and technical schools” to help remove the negative stigma associated with these institutions.
“I am grateful the Senate supported this bill, which helps us prepare our youth by training them for the jobs of the future,” Sen. Hughes said. “What may be viewed as a simple name change opens up a world of opportunities to our students through removing a long-standing stigma and explicitly focusing on building skills that will last a lifetime. This is a great step to ensure Pennsylvania is ready for the 21st century workforce.”
“In many schools and communities, there is an unfair, decades-old bias against vocational-technical schools, despite the fact that these schools help prepare students for rewarding, good-paying careers,” Aument said. “The goal of our bill is help students and parents understand the real value of these programs as they consider which educational and career paths they want to pursue.”
A recent study by Georgetown University found that almost two-thirds of all jobs in the U.S. will require postsecondary education by 2020. Job openings in healthcare and STEM fields – two sectors addressed by many career and technical schools – are expected to be among the fast-growing occupations.
Pennsylvania is home to 84 schools that offer comprehensive academic and technical education courses. Nearly 25 percent of the Commonwealth’s 500 school districts offer career and technical education programs.
Senate Bill 89 was approved unanimously by the Senate and sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.