SCRANTON, Nov. 20, 2013 – State Sen. John Blake today continued his work with parents, education leaders, labor leaders, business executives and fellow lawmakers to find effective solutions to advance career-focused education for K-12 public school students, and close the worker skills gap that continues to trouble the business community in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
Blake’s second annual “E2 Summit: Education & the Economy” convened at Marywood University where participants renewed their commitment to finding good ways to inform students about the scope of career opportunities that await them in the 21st century economy and, importantly, to inform their parents, teachers and school administrators about the best possible pathways to these careers.
Summiteers also reviewed the inroads they’ve achieved since last year’s inaugural E2 Summit.
“We are continuing this endeavor because it is imperative that we keep our lines of communication open and continue to share best practices and integrate proven methods to ensure student achievement and successful career development,” Blake said. “Northeast Pennsylvania continues to suffer from the highest unemployment rate in the state, and this is due in part to the fact that employers are not able to identify the skilled workers they need.”
The E2 Summit is focused on making K-12 career development improvements in Lackawanna, Luzerne, Susquehanna, Pike, Wayne and Wyoming counties.
Since last December, Blake said an E2 committee has met with area school district superintendents to work on this comprehensive career development initiative. Participants have worked on building comprehensive kindergarten through 12th grade counseling programs, and have examined trends and the emerging labor market to help map a blueprint for change.
“When people ask if our children are making the proper connection between fundamental learning and how that will help them find work, our answer, without hesitation, must be an unequivocal yes, and that’s what this work is all about” Sen. Blake said. “Our children need to know how what they are learning is relevant to what it is they will be doing after graduation.
“If employees are not trained or certified in the skills demanded in a regional economy, if they haven’t demonstrated academic achievement, if they lack the resources to get the training they need to pursue upward mobility, economic development will be stifled,” the senator said.
Today’s E2 Summit attendees said the focus on career-focused education is a positive push forward.
“Meaningful and dynamic presentations of facts showing the path,” said Dominick Carachilo of Johnson College. “K-16 educators need to go for the good of our commonwealth and, more importantly, for the good of its current and future students.”
Greater PA Regional Council of Carpenters member Drew Simpson agreed.
“Great event! I appreciate the opportunity to sit in a room with business, education, workforce development, and economic development officials to discuss how to give our youth the information they need about the career opportunities for the future,” Simpson said.