Two-day hearing discusses how colleges fill in-demand careers

College tour and roundtable followed by hearing highlight how partnerships enhance education and position students for entering job pipeline upon graduation.

SCRANTON, Oct. 20 – The labor market in northeast Pennsylvania needs workers, and a two-day hearing in Tunkhannock and Scranton focused on how the region prepares students for success.

“Students coming out of their high school years need opportunities like those provided here,” said state Rep. Bridget Kosierowski, D-Lackawanna. “My own kids came out of a preparatory school and I know as a mom that it was challenging to navigate finding the right opportunities for them and their peers. I am excited for my colleagues to learn about the different programs offered here like the Level Up Program, the SOAR Program of Study, Dual Enrollment, and continuing education programs.”

The hearing was held at 409 on Adams, the student-run restaurant on the Scranton campus of Lackawanna College. Lawmakers heard from Dr. Jill Murray, president of Lackawanna College; Melissa Turlip, director of programming at the Community Foundation of the Endless Mountains; and Colins Furneaux, educational coordinator for Northern Tier Industry and Education Consortium.

Testifiers highlighted the importance of career and technical education and the unique partnerships Lackawanna College and the Northern Tier Industry and Education Consortium have made with small businesses and industry in the region.

“Our caucus is squarely focused on efficiency and saving taxpayer dollars, especially on the back end when students graduate,” said state Rep. Kyle Mullins. “The way that you are partnering with businesses and prioritizing getting students the education they need to enter the workforce immediately in our region is exactly what we need to be doing.”

Members toured Lackawanna College’s Petroleum and Natural Gas institute in Tunkhannock on Oct. 19.

“We set up a tour so that members could see the educational setting students have here,” said Policy Committee Chair state Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie. “The students in this region have tremendous resources that give them the hands-on experience they need to enter the work force straight upon graduation. Our caucus is focused on supporting programs and making sure that small business, industry and our educational institutions come together to fill the jobs pipeline.”

Information about this and other PA House Democratic Policy Committee hearings can be found at