Begin Main Content Area
Media > Education > Details

Department of Education Congratulates PA’s First Career and Technical Education Presidential Scholar During School Visit


Harrisburg, PA - Today, Pennsylvania Department of Education Acting Secretary Noe Ortega joined Upper Bucks County Technical School (UBCTS) Executive Director Jeff Sweda, local superintendents, and State Representative Craig Staats for a school tour led by Raymond Slifer, Pennsylvania’s first-ever career and technical education (CTE) student to be awarded the U.S. Presidential Scholar Award.

“I was delighted for the opportunity to tour the Upper Bucks County Technical School with Raymond and see where his passion for STEM was cultivated,” said Acting Secretary of Education Noe Ortega. “As Pennsylvania’s first CTE student to receive one of the nation’s highest academic honors, Raymond has paved a path that reflects hard work, leadership, and community service. I look forward to recognizing future students across Pennsylvania who will follow in his footsteps.”

Investing in career and technical education is a priority for the Wolf Administration to provide students with the hands-on skills they need for successful careers, and local employers with a job-ready workforce that will help them thrive. The administration’s PAsmart initiative is investing tens of millions of dollars in skills training at CTC, apprenticeships, and other programs to prepare Pennsylvanians for in-demand jobs in fast-growing industries.

Since 1964, UBCTS has served the Pennridge, Quakertown, and Palisades school districts and surrounding communities. UBCTS offers twenty-one programs, including Agricultural Technology, Mechatronics, Baking and Pastry Arts, and Graphic Communications, among others, to students from ninth through twelfth grades. The mission of the school is to educate students for successful careers and to inspire lifelong learning in a challenging and changing global economy. Later this month, Raymond A. Slifer of Quakertown Community High School will become an alumnus of UBCTS under the Machining Technology program.

“The Upper Bucks County Technical School has shown that our students and instructors understand the importance of a career and technical education. We are very proud of our students and staff for all the hard work they have endured during these unprecedented times. We have shown growth school-wide in our National Occupational Competency Testing Institute (NOCTI) Advance scores, attendance, Occupational Advisory Committee (OAC) membership, articulation agreements, business and industry partnerships, and co-op,” said Executive Director of Upper Bucks County Technical School Jeff Sweda. “Raymond Slifer being the first PA student to win the presidential scholarship shows our students' hard work. Our school community is so proud of Raymond and all of our other students for everything they have accomplished during a year that will be written in the history books.”

The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars selects students annually based on their academic success, artistic and technical excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership, and demonstrated commitment to high ideals. Slifer was one of 20 students nationwide to receive this honor for CTE.

Transformed from vo-tech of the past, Pennsylvania’s career and technical education centers (CTC) offer dynamic, state-approved programs that lead to the development of real-world, in-demand skills as well as industry-recognized credentials and certifications. CTE in Pennsylvania offers high school students the opportunity to develop critical skills through a combination of challenging academic opportunities and hands-on learning experiences. Students must apply to enroll in a career and technical education center.

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

MEDIA CONTACT: Kendall Alexander,

# # #

Share This