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Career and Technical Education Needs More State Funding

Demand for high school graduates with technical education is growing. (trapezemike/pixabay)
Demand for high school graduates with technical education is growing. (trapezemike/pixabay)
January 11, 2019

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Pennsylvania's career and technical education centers, or CTCs, need additional funding in the next state budget, according to a new report.

There are 74 CTCs in the state, preparing some 55,000 high school students to enter a variety of fields as soon as they graduate. Last year, the state boosted funding for the centers by $10 million, the first increase in nearly a decade.

Kari King, president and CEO of Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children – the group that released the report – says raising the state subsidy was a step in the right direction, but more needs to be done.

"That is really about 8 percent of overall funding, and 2 percent of funding is from the federal government,” says King. “So, 90 percent of the cost to send students to CTCs falls directly on school districts."

The report calls on state policymakers to include an additional $10 million investment in CTCs as part of the 2019-to-2020 state budget.

King points out that the demand for graduates with backgrounds in career and technical education is growing.

"It prepares students for a range of in-demand jobs that can offer pathways to careers, like new media or health care or construction, in the manufacturing sector or even in law,” says King.

Despite the demand, there are currently 13 school districts in the state that don't offer career and technical education options.

King adds that basic education funding needs to increase by some $400 million in the coming state budget. So, increasing funding for CTCs also gives school districts more flexibility.

"It's really relieving the burden on the back end for the school districts,” says King. “So, it frees up some money on the basic education side that they can put elsewhere in their budgets."

Gov. Tom Wolf is scheduled to deliver his annual budget address on February 5.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - PA