Everett, PA – Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) Deputy Secretary for Workforce Development Eileen Cipriani and Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) officials today highlighted Governor Tom Wolf’s PAsmart initiative during a visit to the Bedford County Technical Center (BCTC) in Everett and the school’s cooperative-education program at PennDOT’s Maintenance Facility in Bedford.
“A one-size-fits-all approach to education and job training simply does not work. Pennsylvania businesses need more skilled employees with the work-ready experience that vocational training provides,” said Cipriani. “CTCs like the Bedford County Technical Center prepare students for good, family-sustaining jobs by providing them with not only classroom education, but the hands-on training they need to be successful. That’s why the governor created his innovative PAsmart initiative – to ensure Pennsylvania has the most prepared and talented workforce in the country.”
The tour highlighted Governor Wolf’s PAsmart initiative and the state’s partnership with local schools and businesses to prepare students and workers for the jobs of today and tomorrow.
Cipriani toured BCTC’s job training programs including culinary arts, cosmetology, welding, building construction, automotive repair, health assistant, agriculture science, and biotechnology. Later, she was joined by PennDOT officials to view the school’s co-op program at PennDOT’s Bedford County Maintenance Facility and spoke with students in the auto/diesel repair program.
The School to Employment at PennDOT (STEP) Program introduces eligible high school seniors to PennDOT’s operations and provides them with meaningful work assignments in skilled trades, professional and technical work, and administrative skills. Since the program’s implementation, 200 students have participated or are active in the program.
“We have many opportunities at PennDOT ranging from maintenance, technical, and engineering positions to administrative and other professional career paths,” PennDOT Deputy Secretary for Administration Suzanne Itzko said. “Our STEP program is a fantastic partnership with schools where students are getting hands-on experience and seeing the possibilities available at PennDOT.”
BCTC delivers educational services to students in grades 10, 11, and 12, and is a shared-time career and technical school that serves the Bedford and Everett school districts. Other districts including Tussey Mountain, Northern Bedford, and Chestnut Ridge, as well as charter school Hope for Hyndman, send students to BCTC on a paid tuition basis.
“We are very grateful to all of BCTC’s business partners that allow our students to participate in the co-op program,” said Bedford County Technical Center’s Executive Director Mark Bollman. “The co-op program lends a real-world experience to the education we provide.”
Earlier this month, the governor launched the next phase of PAsmart by announcing the availability of $30 million in competitive grants to invest in K-12 computer science and STEM education, expand registered apprenticeship programs, and support job training with Industry Partnerships.
The grants will expand classroom instruction and professional development in the fast-growing STEM and computer science fields, as well as training for in-demand careers, emerging industries, and underserved populations.
For more information about pursuing an education and career in Pennsylvania at any stage of life, visit PAsmart.
Erin Waters-Trasatt, PennDOT, 717-783-8800
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