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Need for Agriculture Education Highlighted “During Schools That Teach” Tour Event in Lancaster Count

07/13/2015

Agriculture Secretary Redding Kick-Offs Two-Week PULSE Institute


Lancaster, PA - Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding today addressed more than 70 teachers, speaking to the value in agriculture education during the PULSE (Partnership to Understand and Lead STEM Education) Institute kick-off in Lancaster. Secretary Redding underscored the importance of incorporating agriculture into school curriculums, noting the potential of multiple career options in the industry.

“Over the next 10 years, there will be more than 60,000 job openings in the agriculture and food-related sectors,” said Redding. “This means we’re going to have more agricultural jobs than people to fill them. We have to begin to address this now and that means helping students see the potential of the agriculture industry. We need new ways to get people engaged.”

The department is currently developing a workforce initiative to expose students to agriculture-related career options, creating a pipeline that will help them transition from today’s students to members of tomorrow’s job-ready workforce.

“We have to help students see the possibilities in the agriculture industry,” Redding added. “Governor Wolf recognizes how important it is to prepare our students for tomorrow’s careers. This is why his proposed budget includes funding for career and technical education that will connect schools with technical programs to offer hands-on learning experiences to students. Everyone in this room understands the importance of providing learning experiences beyond the classroom. You see that in teaching about agriculture, we’re teaching about life.”

The PULSE program is an action-research project that measures the impact of targeted professional development for educators on student proficiency in math and science. This is the third year of a three-year project funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Mathematics and Science Program and overseen by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. As a part of the grant, the Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit (IU) 13 hosts a two-week professional development institute for teachers from the Lancaster and Lebanon areas. Over the course of the institute, educators explore content through a theme of Pennsylvania agriculture. IU13 is the only IU in the state using agriculture to teach STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.)

Governor Wolf’s proposed 2015-16 budget includes a $15 million investment in Career and Technical Education (CTE) Innovation grants. Through the state Department of Education, this funding will give schools an opportunity to partner with technical colleges, universities, employers and labor organizations, offering hands-on learning experiences to students. Besides the CTE Innovation Grants, the governor’s proposed budget also includes additional funding to prepare students for success after high school:

$5 million for CTE equipment grants;
$8 million to school districts to offer college and career counseling; and
$9 million from PHEAA proceeds to re-establish the state’s Dual Enrollment Program.

For more information about Governor Wolf’s plan for education, visit http://www.schoolsthatteach.com/.

For more information about PULSE, visit http://www.iu13.org/educators/instruction/stem/pulse/

MEDIA CONTACT: Brandi Hunter-Davenport - 717.787.5085

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