SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Education and the economy are front and center as Pennsylvania gets ready to debate the budget.
Some state and Federal Legislators say there are two sets of institutions that are vital in those regards, and they were untouched from this year’s proposal, Pennsylvania’s community colleges and career technical education centers, or CTE’s. On average, they are cheaper options to traditional universities and focus more on special, as well as what many consider essential skills.
It doesn’t make sense to State Senator John Yudichak why they were promised extra funding in last year’s budget and didn’t get the support this year.
Eyewitness News spoke with Yudichak, U.S. House Representative Fred Keller, and a few of those institutions to understand why they are so critical to not only education, but to a potential reboot of the economy.
“We all learn differently. And we all have different desires there’s different things we like to do, and our educational opportunities should match that” Keller said.
“Getting beyond this pandemic getting beyond this public health crisis and focusing on jobs means investing in community colleges, investing rcts making sure that we are ready for the jobs of the 21st century.” Yudichak said.
Bill Burke, vice president of student & academic affairs at johnson college said, “There are so many students from diverse backgrounds that just don’t have that opportunity because of that gap that that is there with their educational funding.”
Kelly Musti, Dean of Health Sciences & Assessment at Lackawanna College said “We are providing an opportunity to level the playing field. So opportunities that are out there for not just one person because they have a certain, certain amount of money, but really everyone is what we should be striving for.”
There is federal financial aid as well as state grants available to students of all backgrounds.
But many we’ve spoken to would like to see more dedicated funding in this year’s budget to get everyone from young adults to experienced workers looking to change course, more opportunity for financial stability.
Yudichak also argues that success with the public, private partnerships is more reason than trade schools, as well as community colleges, should be a priority for economic recovery.