Turzai, Tobash Reintroduce Legislation to Support Career and Technical Education
HARRISBURG – Legislation was recently reintroduced by Speaker of the House Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) and Rep. Mike Tobash (R-Schuylkill/Dauphin) to provide career and technical education students with greater flexibility in fulfilling their graduation requirements.

“We need to continue to be open-minded when it comes to ensuring meaningful, quality education for each of our students,” Turzai said. “The one-size-fits-all approach to education is outdated. Providing these additional routes for career and technical education students highlights the value of a variety of educational paths and careers.”

House Bill 202 would allow a student who participates in a vocational education program (either in a vocational-technical school or in a school district) to demonstrate proficiency by completing locally established grade-based requirements for academic content areas associated with the Keystone Exams in which the student did not achieve proficiency and by either attaining an industry-based competency certification related to the student’s program of study or demonstrating a high likelihood of success on an approved industry-based competency assessment, such as the National Occupation Competency Testing Institute (NOCTI) or the National Institute of Metalworkers Skills (NIMS), or readiness for continued meaningful engagement in the student’s program of study as shown through performance on assessments, course grades and other factors consistent with the student’s goals and career plan.

“When I talk with business owners about what they are looking for in future employees, they tell me that they are not asking people what they scored on their Keystone Exams. They care that they are skilled and knowledgeable in the field they are seeking to enter,” Tobash said. “This is a commonsense bill that will improve the focus of our career and technical education students by allowing flexibility in completing necessary graduation requirements.”

House Bill 202 is a reintroduction of House Bill 2381 from last session, which passed the House unanimously on Oct. 19, 2016.

“This bill is about looking at the big picture, and eliminating obstacles for students who are pursuing careers in fields that are in demand,” Turzai said. “Representative Tobash has done great work over the years in connecting our business and education and state government communities. He will continue his efforts and be a great leader as chairman of the House Education Committee’s Select Subcommittee on Technical Education and Career Readiness.”

“House Bill 2381 would allow CTC students to complete their program of study instead of being withdrawn from the CTC due to Keystone testing remediation,” said Northern Westmoreland Career and Technology Center Administrative Director Kurt Keifer. “For example, Pennsylvania is suffering from a shortage of skilled labor that will only to continue to broaden in the future. CTC students can only bridge that gap. Therefore, restricting students from completing their trade area, based on a test which focuses solely on academic knowledge rather than industry specific trade knowledge, is not only detrimental to a student’s future career success, but also to Pennsylvania’s skilled labor shortage. Completing the Keystone test cannot guarantee a student employment, but completing all of the competencies in a program of study can.”

This substitution option would only be available during school years in which demonstrated proficiency on a Keystone Exam is a requisite condition for high school graduation. Act 1 of 2016 delayed the implementation of the Keystone Exams as a high school graduation requirement until the 2018-19 school year.

Representative Mike Turzai
Speaker of the House
28th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Stephen Miskin
717.772.9943 (office), 717.756.3936 (cell)
RepTurzai.com / Facebook.com/RepTurzai / Twitter.com/RepTurzai

Representative Mike Tobash
125th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Krisinda Corbin
RepTobash.com / Facebook.com/RepTobash

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