Sep. 19, 2023

HAWLEY – Rep. Joe Adams (R-Pike/Wayne), House Republican Policy Committee Chairman Joshua D. Kail (R-Beaver/Washington) and members of the committee held a hearing today in Hawley to examine what technical and vocational education services are available, the need for a centralized career and technical center (CTC), and how to develop existing services into more robust programs.

“Pike and Wayne counties are the only two counties without a career and technical education school,” Adams said. “Given our location in the Northeast corridor and the rapid population growth, these areas need a skilled workforce. I’m grateful to Chairman Kail for his interest in this important topic on educational pathways.”

“Technical and vocational programs serve as a pipeline toward hope and opportunity,” Kail said. “These programs provide students practical, real-world experiences, family-sustaining careers, and zero college debt which gives them an advantage when life's challenges are hurled in their direction. Thank you to Rep. Joe Adams and the testifiers for holding a forum on this important issue.”

Mary Beth Wood, executive director for Wayne Economic Development Corporation, discussed how investing in people pursuing technical and vocational education is critical to expanding the area’s economic development.

“Just as we need enabling infrastructure to grow our communities, such as roadways, utilities and industrial sites, we need educational infrastructure to address the people side of economic development,” Wood said. “Job creation is a measure of success in economic development – jobs are filled by people. In Wayne County, we take the approach that workforce development is economic development.”

Joann Hudak, chairperson of the board for Wayne Pike Workforce Alliance, observed that the “college for all” concept may be outdated, and that other options are, and should be, on the table for consideration. CTCs expose students to alternative options to consider when deciding on a career path.

“We have created this mindset to go to college, figure out what you want to do, graduate and then hopefully get a job,” Hudak said. “The formula should be to ask where the jobs are, what the skills are for these jobs and what related education is needed. Using this approach, our school systems are working side-by-side with our workforce and economic development partners to give our students high-quality work-based learning experiences.”

Keith Gunuskey, superintendent, Wallenpaupack Area School District, added that the need for a CTC is evident throughout both counties as businesses, governments and economic development organizations have partnered to advance the workforce, noting that the counties are exploring the feasibility of building a facility to adequately prepare students for future employment and for the Northern Poconos to remain competitive.

“Since there is no CTC, programs at the high school level are unnecessarily duplicated,” Gunuskey said. “Creating a CTC and consolidating programs would create additional opportunities for students. The goal will be to ensure every student, regardless of their district, can call the Wayne/Pike CTC their home.”

To view the full hearing, click the link here.
Representative Joseph Adams
139th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

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