Rivera visits CTC: ‘We need these jobs’

By on June 6, 2018

Rivera met Spencer Buccheri, 17, of Ephrata, who is in the electrical construction technology program. Buccheri has been hired full-time at his co-op placement, D.S. Burkholder, Inc. in Denver. Photo by Aubree Fahringer

In a time when it is important to expand job and STEM training for in-demand industries through Governor Wolf’s PAsmart proposal, PA Secretary of Education, Pedro Rivera, visited the Brownstown campus of the Lancaster County Career and Technology Center (CTC) on May 31. He arrived for a tour of the center and the programs it offers.

Rivera toured the heavy equipment operations program, electrical construction technology, the HVAC installation program, and cabinet making. In each class, he had the opportunity to speak with the program instructors and interact with the students and hear about their experiences at CTC.

As PA experiences a deficit of technological and trade workers, the CTC stands as a beacon of premier education.

“We need these jobs,” Rivera said, in reference to the programs for which the CTC offers training. “Especially in western PA… there’s lots of little things we can do to support the kids in these programs.”

“There’s an old stigma about [trade] vocations,” Rivera said. “But they are not the programs of years past. New skills are needed.”

Rivera shared about the governor’s initiatives to help rectify this problem. Wolf introduced the PAsmart proposal, which is a “first-of-its-kind proposal to invest $50 million, including $25 million boost in STEM and computer science education at all levels. It would also drive an expansion of apprenticeship and work-based programs, strengthen career and technical education, STEM pathways, and encourage partnerships between employers and colleges and universities”, according to a press release from the Department of Education.

In addition to increasing revenue for these career paths, the Wolf administration desires to increase the percentage of Pennsylvanians who have a certificate or degree from 47 percent to 60 percent by the year 2025. Rivera shared that within the next few years, it will be important for commonwealth residents to obtain certificates, two year degrees, or four year degrees in order to have jobs. The proper training is essential and places like the CTC can provide training in high-demand industries.

“The governor wants to highlight all career paths,” Rivera said. “Math, science, and literary skills are equally important, whether they’re learned through colleges, or through career and tech centers. All pathways are the same, but we need employees with employability.”

“These visits are important,” Rivera said, of his time at the CTC. “This is the advent of technology.”

Aubree Fahringer is a staff writer for the Ephrata Review. She welcomes comments or questions at afahringer@lnpnews.com.

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