Rep. Kevin Schreiber (D-York), Education Secretary Pedro Rivera and HACC President John “Ski” Sygielski Friday discussed community college funding in Pennsylvania and how Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget proposal can increase investment in community colleges.
Specifically, the proposed budget would provide a $15 million increase to community colleges, which would restore 75 percent of the cuts to community colleges since 2011.
“If we want our community colleges to adequately train students for the careers of tomorrow, we must provide them with adequate funding,” Rep. Schreiber said. “We must also ensure that community colleges remain an affordable higher education option for Pennsylvania residents.”
Rep. Schreiber said the Governor’s proposed budget will have a positive impact for Pennsylvania’s community colleges and education as a whole. The proposed investment would enable community colleges to educate more state students and could pave a path for future federal funding.
The Governor’s budget proposal would create the PA Rising Education and Training Initiative, which would build a bridge from high school to college and careers.
The state would work with community colleges to develop individual college plans that address performance, affordability, student completion and transformation through structured career pathways and partnerships with employers.
Elizabeth Bolden, president/CEO of the PA Commission for Community Colleges, who also participated in the news conference, said a well-educated workforce will boost Pennsylvania’s economy.
“We believe Gov. Wolf’s proposed FY 2015-16 budget, with its increase in funding for Pennsylvania’s community colleges, reflects an understanding that a postsecondary credential is essential for an individual’s long-term economic security and that a community college is the most accessible, affordable path to attaining that credential,” Bolden said. “Evidence suggests that states that increase the level of education of their workforce see greater productivity. From 1979 to 2012, states in which the share of adults with at least a college degree experienced greater increases in productivity, measured as gross state product per hour worked. The governor’s budget takes an important step in increasing that level of education in Pennsylvania.”Rep. Schreiber said he will work as hard as he can to make sure the Governor’s community college proposal and additional funding are part of the final state budget.