State Sens. Rob Teplitz (D-Dauphin County) and Lisa Boscola (D- Northampton County) don’t believe every student should go to college after high school.
Instead, they said students should have more opportunities to be trained for technical jobs that don’t require a college degree.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projected more than 40 million job openings will be filled by workers who do not have a bachelor’s degree by 2014.
Boscola said students need to know that there are practical applications and a lot of job opportunities for technical careers.
“You can become a pipe fitter or a carpenter or an auto mechanic and some of these jobs pay more than a surgeon and that isn’t getting out there enough so we’re trying to figure out as law makers how do we incentivize the business community, the education community to get to these students in sixth, seventh grade,” Boscola said.
The Senate Democratic Policy Committee held the Round Table discussion about this subject Wednesday so they could hear from workers and employers about the best ways to provide proper training to the state’s workforce.
Boscola said students are not being educated for the jobs that are out there today.
“Clearly we are not -- we are not doing it well enough, we know that we have enough children going to college for a four year or a five year degree but there’s still another pathway that’s not being talked about enough and we have job opening for,” Boscola said.
Senator Teplitz said students need to start thinking about pursuing possibilities outside of the traditional four-year college path earlier than their last year of high school.
“We have to do a better job in this state of constructing a pipeline from basic education whether it’s in a traditional high school or vocational technical school through some advanced training of some type and then to a job,” Teplitz said.
He said job training is crucial to building a strong workforce, and both parents and students need to see that there are many paths to entering that workforce after high school.
“I think we need to really think about how to get that message out and get those students and those families thinking about the future and different options much earlier.”