Gov. Wolf said rebuilding the middle class and creating a better future for Pennsylvania’s residents depends on developing a skilled workforce and a business-driven education and training strategy.
To ensure that the Commonwealth meets the needs of its businesses and employers in the coming years, we need to provide today’s students with the skills to meet this rising demand.
Just 48 percent of Pennsylvanians currently have a college degree or industry-recognized certification. By 2025, fully 60 percent of good-paying, reliable Pennsylvania jobs will require these credentials. Pennsylvania will close that education gap—making a college degree or high-value industry-recognized certification available to at least 650,000 additional Commonwealth residents over the next decade.
In addition to increased funding for high school career and technical education programs and the reinstatement of the dual enrollment program, the Governor’s budget proposal encourages school districts, employers and postsecondary institutions to work together to create a seamless bridge for students transitioning from high school to college or a career.
The 2015-16 Budget reinvests in higher education and commits to fully restore the cuts to colleges and universities over the next two years. The budget includes:
-- Community Colleges. The 2015-16 Budget provides a $15.056 million (7.0 percent) increase to community colleges—restoring 75 percent of the community colleges’ cuts since 2011.
-- Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE). The 2015-16 Budget provides a $45.302 million (11.0 percent) increase to the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education to achieve these policy goals.
-- State-Related Universities. The 2015-16 Budget provides a $80.907 million increase to Penn State University, the University of Pittsburgh, Temple University and Lincoln University.
The cuts to colleges and universities over the last four years have led to tuition hikes that imperil the promise of higher education for working families. At PASSHE alone, state budget cuts resulted in tuition increasing by nearly 18 percent since 2010-11. The 2015-16 Budget makes higher education more affordable for Pennsylvanians, and calls on the community colleges and State System universities to freeze tuition for the next academic year.
In addition, the state will work with community colleges and the PASSHE to develop individual college plans that address performance, affordability, student completion and transformation through structured career pathways and partnerships with employers.