House adopts Abney resolution requiring state to study student barriers to career and technical education programs

Study needed as thousands of students lack access

HARRISBURG, July 9 – With thousands of students being turned away from career and technical education programs, the Pennsylvania House today adopted a resolution introduced by state Rep. Aerion Abney that would require the state to study the problem and recommend ways to expand access to these programs.

Abney said he introduced
H.R. 481 – which calls on the Legislative Budget and Finance Commission to identify student barriers to CTE and make recommendations – to address a disturbing trend.  

“Our CTE programs are incredibly important because they provide young adults with the skills they need for good-paying, family-sustaining jobs,” Abney said. “Unfortunately, thousands of students are being turned away or wait-listed for these programs. It’s an issue that is depriving young adults of critical training tools and diminishing the pool of talented applicants that employers need to remain competitive. 

“If we’re really serious about maintaining a strong workforce and ensuring we can provide the kinds of opportunities that make young adults want to stay, raise families here and contribute back to the economy, then we need to address this issue. If the problem is one of capacity, then we need to secure the necessary funding to expand our CTE programs statewide. This study will be an important first step.”

Abney said Pennsylvania has more than 68,000 students attending approximately 80 CTE centers and additional high-school based programs. Discussions in the Basic Education Funding Commission have indicated that student interest is outpacing capacity.

Abney’s resolution was adopted by an overwhelming, bipartisan majority.