Gov. Tom Wolf recently announced dozens of competitive grants awarded to schools and career and technical centers for equipment upgrades to train students for high-demand jobs.
Wolf announced $1.5 million was awarded through the Career and Technical Education Equipment Grant program to benefit 39 career and technical centers and three school districts across 28 counties.
The grants, announced last week and distributed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, require schools to match up to $50,000 with local school funds or contributions from business and industry partners, with the goal of landing students in well-paying careers.
“There is an incredible number of job openings for skilled workers in communities throughout Pennsylvania,” Wolf said. “This equipment will allow young people to get the hands-on training they need for those good jobs that pay family sustaining wages. I am committed to making job training available so people can get the latest skills to succeed and fill the jobs with employers across the state.”
The recent grants push the total invested in the program to $9.3 million since Wolf took office in 2015, with 249 applicants receiving funding. During the same time span, the number of technical education students who earned industry-recognized credentials increased by 38.7%, while students enrolled in career and technical education programs jumped 33.6%.
Wolf touted the grants as one of several ways his administration is supporting multiple paths to success in the Pennsylvania education system. Others efforts, he said, include other investments in career and technical centers and workforce development programs, as well as expanded apprenticeships that provide on-the-job training.
“Pennsylvania’s career and technical education programs provide students with the skills and training they need to enter into a meaningful, family sustaining career after graduation, and these grants expand and improve the access students have to first-class equipment and experiences,” Secretary of Education Noe Ortega said. “This funding builds on the commitment the Wolf administration has demonstrated to career and technical education programs and the multiple pathways to success that they create for learners across the commonwealth.”
There are more than 80 career and technical centers approved by the Department of Education across the state that offer a combination of classes and hands-on learning. The state maintains a map of the programs organized by region, with 14 in the south central region, nine in the central/north central region, 17 in the southwest, 14 in the southeast, 10 in the northeast and 10 in the northwest.
The Department of Education published a list of recipients of the recent grants, which ranged from $3,242 to the maximum $50,000. A total of 17 local programs received the maximum grant.
State Rep. Joe Ciresi, D-Montgomery, applauded the equipment grants as a bonus for attracting business investments in his district, which received the maximum $50,000 for both the Pottstown School District and the Western Montgomery Career and Technical Center.
“I’m very glad that Montgomery County’s career and technical education programs are receiving this needed financial support to help our students get the critical skills and training they need to enter into meaningful, family sustaining careers,” he said. “This is a win-win for the county as our students will have access to first-class equipment and experiences, which in turn will make Montgomery County even more attractive to companies seeking to locate to an area where there are highly skilled workers.”
This article was originally posted on Pennsylvania awards $1.5M in career, technical education grants