Harrisburg, PA - Today, the Pennsylvania Departments of Agriculture (PDA) and Education (PDE) announced that they have selected Dr. Robert Clark to serve as commission coordinator of the recently created Commission for Agricultural Education Excellence, a commission charged with assisting in the development of a statewide plan for agricultural education.
“Dr. Robert Clark has had an impressive career in agriculture and workforce education, and his experience will serve as a guiding force for the future of ag ed in Pennsylvania.” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “As we work to address workforce challenges and a changing landscape in agriculture, it is imperative that we continue to provide world-class learning opportunities to students and workers in the commonwealth.”
“Agriculture provides opportunities for success and gainful employment throughout the commonwealth,” said Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera. “To be successful in this everchanging field, agriculture education must be aligned to current technologies, needs and opportunities in the ag community. Developing a statewide plan for agricultural education will ensure that today’s students are thoroughly prepared to become the next leaders of the Commonwealth’s agricultural industries.”
Dr. Clark will work with the 15-member commission that was appointed earlier this year to coordinate the implementation of educational programming with both departments. The commission operates under the concurrent authority of PDA and PDE.
During his career, Dr. Clark has served as the Executive Director of the Professional Personnel Development Center in Career and Technical Education at Temple University, a center that provides outreach higher education programming to career and technology teachers and leaders in eastern Pennsylvania; as an Associate Professor of Workforce Education & Development at Penn State University; a consultant for the Pennsylvania Association of Career and Technical Administrators, Curriculum Director for the National Council for Agricultural Education; Administrative Director/Supervisor of Workforce Development at Dauphin County Technical School; and an agriculture education teacher in secondary schools.
Other notable accomplishments include directing the Career and Technical Administration Certification Program in Workforce Education and Development at the Pennsylvania State University, serving on the Governor’s Commission for College and Career Success created by Gov. Ed Rendell, receiving the 2005 Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s Excellence in Agriculture Award from former Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff, and partnering with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and the Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association to create a credentialed workforce education program for Veterinary Assistants.
The new Commission on Agriculture Education Excellence complements Governor Tom Wolf’s PAsmart initiative, an innovative investment in STEM and computer science education and hands-on technical education programs so students and workers get the skills that employers need. PAsmart will invest $20 million in new funding for computer science and STEM education, as well as an additional $10 million investment in apprenticeships and job training programs for in-demand careers.
As part of a workforce development plan outlined in a report issued earlier this year, the departments are working to identify gaps in education and training for those in-demand career paths; focus on work-based learning, including micro-credentials and apprenticeships; and help Pennsylvanians obtain meaningful careers on the way to finding solutions to the shortage of talent in the near and long-term.
For more information, or to read the report, visit agriculture.pa.gov or education.pa.gov.
MEDIA CONTACT: Casey Smith, PDA, 717.783.0133 - Nicole Reigelman, PDE, 717.783.9802
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