Pleasant Gap, PA – Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) Secretary Jerry Oleksiak today visited the Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science and Technology (CPI) in Centre County to highlight Governor Tom Wolf’s innovative PAsmart initiative to prepare students for good, middle-class jobs and help local employers find the skilled workers they need to succeed in the 21st century economy.
“Four-year degrees are not for everyone, but every worker needs real-world skills to successfully obtain an in-demand, family-sustaining job,” said Secretary Oleksiak. “The Wolf Administration’s goal is for 60 percent of Pennsylvanians to have some form of postsecondary education and training by 2025. PAsmart is helping us accomplish this objective with targeted investments to improve access for students and adult learners to education, training, and career readiness programs.”
PAsmart, a first-of-its-kind $30 million investment, is a new way of thinking about job training and workforce development by providing targeted funding for STEM education, career and technical training, and more, so students and workers get the training and skills needed for middle class jobs in expanding industries.
During his tour of CPI, Oleksiak commended a partnership with Caterpillar, Cleveland Brothers, Ariel Corporation and the school that offers a CAT/Ariel Emphasis Natural Gas Compression (NGC) two-year degree program to train students to become technicians in the high-demand field of gas compression. The program, which is one of only two in the United States, is accredited and recognized by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and provides NGC program graduates with credentials that are recognized locally, nationally, and globally.
“We know that students have unique interests and needs, and there is not a one-size-fits-all method to preparing them for the jobs of tomorrow,” said Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera. “CPI is an example of a company working closely with local industry partners to create and provide career and technical education programs to meet local employers’ needs. By taking a holistic and individualized approach to education like this, we can ensure that students will graduate ready for success in meaningful, in-demand jobs.”
“Industry partnerships have always been the foundation of a successful career-technical education program,” said CPI President Dr. Richard C. Makin. “At times of extreme skilled worker shortages like we are experiencing now, our partnering efforts with industry are absolutely essential.”
CPI is dedicated to enhancing the workforce of today and producing the leaders of tomorrow. Founded in 1969, CPI was built to meet the career and technical needs of high school students in the Bald Eagle, Bellefonte, and Penns Valley areas, as well as State College School Districts. Additionally, more than 1,300 adult learners annually receive training to upgrade their current skills, learn new skills, or make a career change to better their quality of life.
Governor Wolf recently signed an executive order to cut red tape and improve coordination between several state agencies to more effectively deliver workforce development services to Pennsylvanians. Under the executive order, the Pennsylvania Workforce Development Board (PA WDB), the governor’s private sector policy advisor, will provide recommendations on the distribution of the $30 million in PAsmart funding, which will be driven out through competitive grants. This collaboration will help to ensure the investments meet employers’ need for skilled workers and that workers are gaining the skills for good, middle-class jobs that will grow Pennsylvania’s economy.
For more information about pursuing an education and career in Pennsylvania at any stage of life, visit PAsmart.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Theresa Elliott or Penny Ickes, 717-787-7530 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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