May. 18, 2023
– Rep. Craig Staats (R-Bucks) this week hosted a House Policy Committee hearing at Upper Bucks County Technical School (UBCTS) focused on opportunities, workforce outcomes and challenges of career and technical education schools throughout Pennsylvania.
“Our highly skilled trade careers are driven largely by professional development, just as the Upper Bucks County Technical School provides,” said Staats. “Not all education is a one-size fits all approach. It is important we continue to support our technical schools and students, to prepare them for the future just as we do with traditional education.”
Lawmakers and testifiers emphasized the importance of career and technical education for the future of the Commonwealth’s workforce; current challenges students, administrations and schools face; as well as the benefits of technical education.
Testifiers included Dr. Michael Herrera, UBCTS executive director; Rich Matthias, UBCTS instructor; Raymond Slifer, UBCTS graduate and junior manufacturing engineer; Bracalente Manufacturing; and John Maketa, strategic advisor for workforce development.
“The talent and skills acquired by trade schools are a large investment in the future of Pennsylvania’s infrastructure. The testifiers, who have real-life experience in the trades, made this point very clear,” said Staats.
Herrera testified, “For over 100 years, career and technical education (CTE) has continued to be an educational framework connecting students to careers. CTE programs emphasize rigorous and relevant academic curricula enriched in high-demand skills for success in the workplace.”
Like all CTE schools, students at UBCTS are provided with the skills, development and basic qualifications to excel with employers in various industries.
“Career and technical schools are extremely critical when it comes to preparing students for the world ahead of them,” said Policy Committee chairman, Rep. Josh Kail. “From hands-on exercises to more individual attention, this pathway presents an opportunity for our students to hold down family-sustaining jobs at a time when workforce shortages continue. Thank you to Rep. Craig Staats for hosting this forum, as well as the testifiers for informing us how we can boost these schools in Harrisburg.”
“I am incredibly proud of the work our students, instructors and technical schools do here in Bucks County,” said Staats. “We will continue to support their efforts, in and out of the classrooms, through legislative initiatives, awareness and rewriting trade or military opportunities as viable options, just as the undergraduate degree route is currently.”