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ICYMI: Pennsylvania Business Owner: Blueprint for Higher Education Critical to Address Workforce Shortages

05/17/2024

Harrisburg, PA - A Pennsylvania business owner recently published an op-ed advocating for Governor Josh Shapiro’s higher education blueprint. In the article, Bill Gindlesperger—

Shippensburg University Trustee, PASSHE Board of Governors member, and Chairman of eLynxx Solution—outlined the critical workforce needs that would be addressed by Gov. Shapiro’s blueprint for higher education.

The blueprint will invest $975 million in Pennsylvania’s community colleges and PASSHE universities, a 15 percent increase in the amount of funding those institutions received last year; will make postsecondary education more affordable by ensuring students who make up to the median income will pay no more than $1,000 per semester in tuition and fees; and will produce nearly 50,000 additional credentials by 2032.

Read excerpts from the op-ed below: 

“Jobs requiring education beyond high school cut across many employment sectors. You can see this for yourself by looking at the data. An analysis on Pennsylvania’s Blueprint for Higher Education website shows that every region in the commonwealth is begging for employees with more than a high school education.

“People with specialized education and skills are needed in the worst way. In some areas the number of people who have earned an education beyond high school is about half of what is needed to fill available jobs. Think about that.

“Without major changes, things will get much worse. In fact it won't be long until about a quarter million jobs in Pennsylvania will go unfilled.

“We have a long history of ignoring the growing cost of higher tuitions. This hurdle makes it difficult or impossible for many people to get the education and training that they deserve. Simply, many cannot afford the cost of advanced education.

“…Pennsylvania students graduate from programs after high school with an average of $40,000 in debt. It is not easy to begin a career when you are financially behind the eight ball.

“As a result of this debt load, only half of those enrolled in four-year institutions graduate on time. And in parts of the commonwealth, even those who can pay, often lack access to the course work that would land them higher-skilled and better-paying jobs.

“The results are harmful to all of us. As a result of the combination of rising tuition and student debt, the percentage of high school graduates who can enroll in college has actually gone down considerably, while the better-paying jobs requiring higher levels of education have soared.

“This is not a recipe for a prosperous Pennsylvania. New Gov. Josh Shapiro has proposed a new blueprint for higher education.

“This turns out to be a conservative and common sense approach to addressing the challenges that face education beyond high school. The governor is proposing a path forward to address the educational challenges that our workforce faces.

“Healthy organizations seek a talented workforce with the credentials and skills needed to thrive and grow. Gov. Shapiro’s plan includes reforms that would yield substantial dividends for those who want to improve themselves across the commonwealth. It would keep business in Pennsylvania and attract more business.

“I understand a worthwhile investment when I see it and recognize the value of Gov. Shapiro’s focus on education.”

For more information on the Pennsylvania Department of Education, please visit the website or follow PDE on FacebookInstagramTwitterYouTube, or Pinterest

MEDIA CONTACT: Taj Magruder, tmagruder@pa.gov -

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