Careers, education focal points of Blake’s summit

First Posted: 11/22/2013

State Sen. John Blake’s second annual “E2 Summit: Education & the Economy” convened at Marywood University recently.

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 to inform their parents, teachers and school administrators about the best possible pathways to these careers.

Summit attendees also reviewed the inroads they’ve achieved since the inaugural E2 Summit in 2012.

The E2 Summit is focused on making career development improvements in grades kindergarten through 12th in Lackawanna, Luzerne, Susquehanna, Pike, Wayne and Wyoming counties.

Since it kicked off in late 2012, Blake, D-Archbald, 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” 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 added.

E2 Summit attendees said the focus on career-focused education is a positive push forward.

Greater Pennsylvania Regional Council of Carpenters member Drew Simpson said the event is an important chance for people with the same goals to have an open discussion.

“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.

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