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Tobash’s Plan to Connect Educators and Manufacturers Passes House
1/13/2014
HARRISBURG – With the intent of ensuring today’s students are more familiar with opportunities existing in the modern high-tech manufacturing industry, the state House voted in favor of Rep. Mike Tobash’s (R-Schuylkill/Berks) bill today to allow Pennsylvania’s educators to receive necessary continuing education credits by visiting one of the many manufacturing facilities across the Commonwealth.

“The reality is that a career in modern manufacturing includes technologically advanced, computer-driven work done on complex machines, said Tobash. “That type of career can provide family sustaining wages to people in the district I represent and across the state. It’s important for educators to see what employers are looking for first hand, so they understand what benefits these businesses have within their communities.” 
 
House Bill 1816 would allow teachers, guidance counselors and other school administrators to receive necessary continuing education credits if they visit certain manufacturing facilities. These visits would take educators to manufacturers for in-person tours and orientation programs in manufacturing facilities.

John Powers Jr., CEO of Ashland Technologies Inc. in Hegins, explained during Tobash’s latest Legislative Report, that he believes there is a disconnect between what is being taught and what might be an option for students after high school. He explained that pursuing education in vocational and technological fields is sometimes negatively stigmatized by some students and parents, who don’t understand that it could be the best chance at landing a successful career without being saddled with a large amount of debt from student loans.

Like other continuing education credit programs, the school would have to approve and manage the visits. The credits would be open to teachers of all subjects, not just those in the technological fields. All teachers, regardless of subject, influence their students and advise them on their career goals, so an understanding of all available career paths has merit, Tobash said.

“An outdated image of manufacturing careers often discourages students from even exploring manufacturing as a viable career option,” said Tobash. “In addition to being harmful for students, this reduces the influx of talent and doesn’t help manufacturers find the skilled employees they need to grow their business.”

This hands-on approach was endorsed by the 2012 report of the Governor’s Manufacturing Advisory Council. The recommendation suggested that “employing strategies such as inviting teachers in the workplace can help teachers understand industry needs and opportunities.”

This bill has been sent to the Senate for its consideration. For more information on House Bill 1816, or any other state-related issue, contact Tobash’s district office in Schuylkill Haven by calling 570-385-8235. Information related to current state issues can also be found on RepTobash.com and Facebook.com/RepTobash.

Representative Mike Tobash
125th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Krisinda Corbin
717.705.2032 
kcorbin@pahousegop.com 
RepTobash.com 
Facebook.com/RepTobash
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