Tuesday, March 28, 2023

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Call to Action: More Funding for PA Career and Technical Education

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Monday, February 27, 2023   

A Pennsylvania advocacy group wants the state budget to include more funding for Career and Technical Education programs, or CTE, for high school students.

Backers of more funding for CTE are looking toward Gov. Josh Shapiro's new budget proposal, expected March 7.

Rachael Miller, policy director at Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, said the current funding for CTE is provided mostly by local school districts, which contract with a Career and Technical Center.

The challenge is, not all students who are interested can be part of a program, due to the cost of participation.

"To give some context around this - federal and state funding makes up only 12% of the cost for student participation, with 88% coming directly from local school districts," said Miller. "Local school districts largely depend on their local tax base for education funding, through property tax rates."

Miller added that this model of funding directly affects how many students can receive career and technical training.

In the meantime, this month the Shapiro administration announced more than $6 million in grant funding for dual-credit programs for high school students to earn college credits early, including at career and technical schools.

Miller said the current funding for CTE isn't enough. To increase access and lessen the burden on the local school district, she said the state must increase its share.

This means investing in both the Basic Education funding subsidy, and the Career and Technical Education subsidy in the annual state budget.

"Over the last three budget cycles, only $6 million has been allocated to Career and Technical Education," said Miller, "which is a very small percentage compared to what local school districts received."

Miller added that Pennsylvania has 84 CTE Centers, which offer training for a multitude of careers in high-demand fields - from healthcare and nursing, to childcare and construction.

"Not all students want to attend a four-year college," said Miller. "And so it does really prepare them to enter the workforce. And, you know, receive that credentialing."

She noted that a common misconception is that CTE students only go directly into the workforce - when in fact, it helps others prepare for additional schooling after graduation.



Disclosure: Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children/KIDS COUNT contributes to our fund for reporting on Children's Issues, Early Childhood Education, Education, Health Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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