By an overwhelming vote, state Rep. Mike Jones (R-York Township) and his colleagues in the state House have sent to the Senate the last of a nine-part package of legislation as part of #GoodJobs4PA, an initiative designed to better prepare Pennsylvanians for existing workforce needs.
“The bills provide a variety of incentives for high schools and businesses to encourage and educate students and parents as to the benefits of career and technical education (CTE),” Jones said. “It is by far the biggest challenge we face relative to sustaining our economy. This is not just about jobs for kids. In York County, 20 percent of the jobs are in manufacturing, which is double the state average. If we don’t have people to fill those jobs, companies will not locate or stay here, and that hurts everyone.”
Jones says the biggest factor that allows companies to stay in place and makes one location attractive over another is the skilled and semi-skilled workforce.
“Not long ago, when I lead studies to help many of our nation’s best companies determine where to locate distribution and manufacturing facilities, it was transportation, labor and real estate costs that drove the decision,” Jones commented. “In more recent years, we saw that shifting to the availability - not the cost - of labor.
“If we strengthen our labor force, enact regulatory reform, address local property tax reform, and lower the Corporate Net Income Tax, we should have very little trouble attracting good businesses without the need for things like one-time tax incentives.”
The package of bills includes:
• House Bill 522
- Establishes the “Career and Technical Education Investment Incentive Program,” which would provide tax credits to businesses that contribute to career and technical education partnership organizations.
• House Bill 265
- Expands an established database that allows students and potential students to plan where courses, programs, certificates, and diplomas transfer among public schools and institutions of higher education.
• House Bill 334
(Rep. Seth Grove, R-York) - Requires the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) to establish a standard application for schools to seek approval to establish or renew a classification of instructional program.
• House Bill 394
- Requires PDE and the Department of Labor and Industry to conduct a complete inventory of existing workforce development programs at both the secondary and postsecondary levels
• House Bill 297
- Requires the PDE to develop materials outlining workforce needs, including training opportunities and future earning potential. Also allows for community colleges and other technical and/or trade schools to attend career/college fairs.
• House Bill 395
- Allows CTE programs or a cluster of programs to establish occupational advisory committees at the Intermediate Unit (IU) level to serve multiple school districts or career and technical centers.
• House Bill 393
- Requires PDE and the departments of Labor and Industry and Agriculture to develop and maintain a comprehensive online career resource center for students, parents, educators and school officials to provide information on the value and impact of CTE, career pathways, data and statistics on employment opportunities and compensation, postsecondary options, and statewide and regional articulation agreements.
• House Bill 396
- Requires each local Workforce Development Board (WDB) to include in its membership at least one administrator of a Career and Technical Center whose attendance area is covered by the service area of the WDB.
• House Bill 425
- Creates CareerBound, a program to strengthen the connection between Pennsylvania’s students and the next generation of high-priority careers.
“I am pleased to see the priority our Republican leadership has placed on CTE,” added Jones. “With that said, these bills enjoy broad bipartisan support, so hopefully there will be few obstacles standing in the way of them becoming law.”
Representative Mike Jones
93rd Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Scott Little