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Education Secretary: State Budget Continues Strong Investments in Students, Job Training

06/27/2018

Harrisburg, PA - State Education Secretary Pedro A. Rivera today outlined the investments in education championed by Governor Tom Wolf in the 2018-19 budget and over the last four years that are helping Pennsylvania’s students by restoring education funding, increasing enrollment in kindergarten and pre-k, bolstering graduation rates, and training more students for careers.

“Over the past four years, Governor Wolf has fought hard to reinvest in Pennsylvania’s schools,” Rivera said. “With this increased support, students across Pennsylvania are now learning in smaller classes, with more teachers, and from new and innovative programs developed by their schools.”

Rivera noted that in this year’s budget, Governor Wolf secured an additional $100 million in basic education funding, bringing the total increase over four years to more than $538 million that will be distributed using the fair funding formula enacted by the Wolf Administration in 2016. The formula provides for equitable funding for Pennsylvania’s 500 school districts.

Secretary Rivera added that the 2018-19 budget also lays out a plan to re-imagine how the commonwealth provides workforce training, as well as advancing Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), and Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs.

The budget strengthens the state’s investment in workforce development and job training with a $10 million increase for secondary CTE programs and $30 million to launch the governor’s PAsmart initiative. PAsmart is a first-of-its-kind investment to align and strengthen workforce efforts at multiple state agencies by providing $20 million for the fast-growing fields of STEM and computer science education and $10 million to expand apprenticeships and job training.

“By connecting business and industry leaders with educators in our classrooms we ensure our students are learning the skills that are in demand by Pennsylvania employers, specifically STEM and computer science professions,” said Rivera. “In today’s job market, it is more critical than ever that students leave high school with strong academic and technical skills that prepare them for success in college, career and community.”

Pennsylvania has more than 16,000 approved career and technical education programs, and over the past three years the number of CTE students earning industry-recognized credentials has increased by 32.2 percent and the number of credentials earned by students enrolled in CTE programs has increased by 28.4 percent.

The demand for STEM-trained workers also continues to grow, including an estimated 300,000 STEM related jobs available in Pennsylvania in 2018. The commonwealth is a national leader in STEM education, producing the fifth highest number of STEM graduates and is home to second highest number of nationally-recognized STEM ecosystems.

In addition to the PAsmart initiative, the 2018-19 budget includes increases of:

  • $42.5 million for higher education;
  • $15 million for special education;
  • $25 million for pre-school and Head Start programs; and
  • $21.6 million to support early intervention services.

Since Governor Wolf took office, $115 million has been invested in the Pre-K Counts and Head Start Supplemental Assistance programs.

The budget also maintains $1 million in grant funding for It’s on Us PA, launched by the Wolf Administration in 2016, to combat campus sexual violence.

The budget also invests more than $61.4 million for school and community safety, including a $1.4 million increase for the Safe Schools Initiative, which provides grants to schools, police departments, and municipalities to support safer schools.

“This year’s investments further demonstrate the Wolf Administration’s commitment to investing in Pennsylvania’s schools and ensuring students are college and career ready when they graduate,” he added.

For more information about Pennsylvania’s education policies and programs please visit the Department of Education’s website at www.education.pa.gov or follow PDE on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.   

MEDIA CONTACT: Eric Levis - 717-783-9802, elevis@pa.gov

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