PA Business Council Newsletter

Member Group : News Releases


Pennsylvania Business Council 116 Pine Street, Suite 201 Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17101 717-232-8700


The collaborative work of state business associations has not
addressed education or workforce development issues. PBC
does not have any formal policy positions in effect at this time.
In the past, individual PBC member firms have worked for increased
education funding, increased attention and funding to
early childhood education, improved worker training programs
and greater accountability in our schools.

The bottom line for business is the continuing need for employees
who will arrive at work everyday without being under the
influence of drugs or alcohol; be able to work in a group environment
; read and give written instructions; make effective use of
oral communication skills; perform basic math functions necessary
for the job; and often operate a piece of technology or

In today’s marketplace, "hand skills" are as important as "head
skills." Advanced education and college are required for some
careers, but by no means all careers. There are very good, high
wage, pleasant career opportunities for people who posses postsecondary
technical or vocational education. Generally, business
can find its white collar workers, but there is a desperate need
for skilled workers — the so-called "gold collar jobs."


Pennsylvania Partners Conference
May 6 – 8, 2009
The 25th Annual Employment, Training & Education Conference
will be held at the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center in Hershey,
PA. For additional information, please contact Linda Blake
at: [email protected] or
2009 PA Association of WIBs Symposium

June 9 – 10, 2009
This meeting will be held at The Penn Stater in State College, PA.
For additional information, please contact Linda Blake at:
[email protected]


Governor Edward Rendell is proposing using $417 million in Fiscal Stabilization (federal stimulus) money to add to
the basic education subsidy this fiscal year and the full amount permitted — $700 million—in FY 2010-11. Some lawmakers
and many in the business community worry that using federal dollars to increase the subsidy by over $1 billion
in two years will leave the state obligated to maintain the funding increases in future years. The overview of the
stimulus plan that the Department of Education recently published reports that Pennsylvania will receive about $2.7
billion from the Reinvestment Act. The money will be distributed through current funding

$1.6 billion from the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund
$399 million for Title I
$456 million for IDEA special education
$44 million in FY 2009-10 and FY 2010-11 to restore cuts made in the budget
The overview makes it clear how the money is intended to be used and any restrictions; including $317 million to be
dispersed between July 2009 and September 2011 to be used in part for career and technical education following
the current formula. There is an academic investment to "Invest in career and technical education equipment based
on the needs identified by regional employers" coming from Title I, SFSF, Title II-D and IDEA. The guide mentions that
career and technical equipment should be upgraded. More importantly, the programs that the Area Vocational Technical
Schools offer should be better funded.

The prime proponent and the prime opponent of Graduation Competency Assessments (GCA’s) have joined forces
and made changes to the GCA proposal. The Department of Education, State Board of Education and the Pennsylvania
School Board Association (PSBA) have agreed on the newest version of what are now being called Keystone
Exams. The changes have removed the requirement that would require local assessments to be the same as the
Keystone Exams. Other changes include:

• Implementation of the Keystone Exams starting with the graduation class of 2015.
• Requiring local assessments to be validated every six years by the soon to be formed Local Assessment Validation
Committee, which is made up of individuals from the Department of Education, State Board of Education
and PSBA. The costs will be shared by the district and the state.
• School districts will be required to provide additional tutoring to students that do not score proficient or above
on either the PSSA, Keystone Exams or Local Assessment.
• With the current moratorium in place until the end of Fiscal Year 2008-2009 no regulations can be
"promulgated, approved or proposed." The Independent Regulatory Review Commission continues to receive a
flood of documents for and against the Keystone Exams.
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