Workforce Development

REINVIGORATE VOCATIONAL EDUCATION

Create a new respect for people who use their hands to keep the physical world working and provide welcoming career paths for those who want to enter the workforce without attending college.

Pennsylvania needs to change how we approach vocational education and career paths, from how we treat vocational subjects in high school to the financial support we offer to those starting to build a career. Many programs are available to help pay tuition and living expenses for those who attend college, but little is available for those who decide on a different path, even though they are a much larger portion of the working-age population. Roughly 33% more people ages 16–24 in the US are not in school at all than are enrolled in two- and four-year colleges combined (16.2 million versus 12.1 million), according to a new report from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.6 Pennsylvania must enact policies to modernize and attract more students to vocational schools. High school students who pursue technical training in high-demand fields should be eligible for the same grants and loan programs as traditional college students to assist them with additional training, equipment, or even vehicles they will need to establish their careers.

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