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Op-Ed: How innovative education can help Pennsylvania’s economy


Over two years after Gov. Tom Wolf’s shutdown of all “non-life-sustaining business,” Pennsylvania’s economy still struggles to recover. Pennsylvania has lost 167,000 payroll jobs since February 2020 and has the fourth-highest unemployment rate in the nation. Industries with critical labor shortages — like the natural gas sector — are desperately seeking workers and offering high wages.

While disruptive to the economy, these job openings create opportunities for students who chose innovative education programs to equip them with high-demand skills.

As students embrace opportunity, policymakers are following their lead. In the new state budget, Pennsylvania lawmakers passed the largest expansion of its Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) and Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) programs. These allow businesses to take a tax credit in exchange for scholarship contributions, empowering students with greater access to educational opportunities.

An economic impact analysis found that tax credit scholarship expansion in Pennsylvania will result in greater lifetime earnings for students and billions of dollars in economic benefits from those increased earnings and reductions in criminal activity.

EITC supports students like Elizabeth Smith, a recent graduate of Blue Ridge High School in New Milford. Before enrolling in the Susquehanna County Career & Technology Center (SCCTC), Elizabeth’s post-high school plan was […]

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