Effort to help college student’s basic needs announced at Cedar Crest

When students are working towards their career at college, they need more than just study time to succeed. 

Oftentimes basic living needs get in the way of a student’s success. 

To help address the program, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) is promoting PA MASLOW, which is designed to fulfil the “Hierarchy of collegiate Basic Needs.” 

PA MASLOW is a guide to supporting postsecondary students, translated from Maslow’s Hierarchy of Basic Needs, which includes physiological, safety and security, love and belonging, esteem, and self-actualization needs. By addressing these basic needs in a more individualized approach, the PDE says it  hopes to ensure that learners have everything they need to be successful and complete their education. 

On Tuesday, representatives from the department joined students, faculty, and advocates at Cedar Crest College in Allentown to announce the launch of the program. 

 “Through the PA MASLOW framework, institutions can learn from one another as they identify ways to meet the basic pillars of Collegiate Need. And, at the state level, PDE is committed to eliminating silos among our sister agencies, working collaboratively to break down systemic barriers and cycles of poverty, and provide pathways for today’s modern students,” said Secretary of Education Dr. Khalid N. Mumin. “Together we can provide the tools, resources, and support students need to ensure that they can reach infinite possibilities of success.”  

According to a release, PA MASLOW is a cross-agency partnership that expands upon the mission of PDE – ensuring every student not only has access to education — but that the education pursued provides them with support and resources to create optimal learning environments.  

This initiative will work with colleges on areas including digital equity, housing and transportation, mental health, personal needs, adult student needs, and safety and belonging.  

“None of us can be at our best if we don’t have safe housing, sufficient food, and support for our physical and mental health, and we can’t expect students to be successful in college without these, either,” said Dr. Calley Stevens Taylor, vice president for student success and engagement and dean of students at Cedar Crest College. “For college students, transportation, textbooks, access to support services, and educational technology are also fundamental basic needs, and I believe that we have an obligation to address these needs, on and across our campuses, in partnership, and in our communities.”  

While the department has existing programming that speaks to finding solutions to these student needs, PA MASLOW will provide an opportunity to expand its work, as well as collaborate with schools. 


CTCs in Lehigh Valley, Central Pa. awarded grants to purchase new equipment

Career Technical Centers in the Lehigh Valley and Central Pennsylvania are among the 33 CTCs and two school districts to receive competitive grants to purchase new equipment aligned to training students in high-demand occupations. 

Awarded by the Wolf Administration, the grants total $1.2 million in career and technical education equipment. The funding was announced Wednesday by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). 

CTCs in the Lehigh Valley and Central Pennsylvania received approximately $300,000 in grants. 

“Career and technical centers continually provide excellent educational and professional opportunities for students across the commonwealth,” Acting Secretary of Education Eric Hagarty said in a statement. “Investing in career readiness and career exploration is a priority for PDE, and we encourage recipients to utilize this funding to enhance and expand these learning programs, which will help students excel in their chosen fields.” 

More than 80 CTCs in Pennsylvania offer a combination of classes and hands-on learning in programs approved by the PDE. Students can earn industry credentials or certifications for local jobs in high demand. 

Area awardees and their funding amounts include the following: 

  • Adams County – Adams County Technical Institute, $47,500. 
  • Berks County – Berks CTC, $23,229. 
  • Cumberland County – Cumberland Perry Area Career & Technical Center, $26,935. 
  • Dauphin County – Dauphin County Technical School, $50,000. 
  • Lancaster County – Lancaster County Technical School, $50,000. 
  • Lehigh County – Lehigh Career & Technical School, $50,000. 
  • York County – York Co. School of Technology, $50,000. 

The maximum grant under the program is $50,000, and every grant must be matched dollar-for-dollar from a local source, which can include local school funds or contributions from business and industry partners. 

Pa. technical schools receive more than $1 million in grants

A combination of traditional public education and career-technical training prepared Nia Ingram for her job as a welder at Volvo Construction Equipment’s Shippensburg plant. (Photo: Amy Spangler)

More than $1 million in grants were awarded Friday to dozens of career and technical centers (CTCs) and area vocational technical education schools across the state.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) approved nearly $1.2 million in competitive grants to 32 technology and vocational schools for equipment to help train students in high-demand occupations. The equipment is part of PDE-approved Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs and to provide hands-on training to students in those programs.

The maximum grant allowed under the program was $50,000, and each grant had to be matched dollar-for-dollar from a local source, such as school funds or contributions from business and industry partners.

“Giving students the opportunity to engage in hands-on training on equipment that is consistent with industry use and standards is paramount in ensuring they are prepared upon graduation with the skills to step into the jobs that are driving the Pennsylvania economy,” said Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera. “These grants, with a local match, help institutions across the commonwealth to train their students for the jobs that exist in their local communities.”

The regional schools receiving grants through the program include:

  • Berks County – Reading Muhlenberg CTC; $50,000.
  • Dauphin County – Dauphin County Technical School; $37,050.
  • Lehigh County – Bethlehem Area Vocational-Technical School; $41,199.
  • Lehigh County – Lehigh Career & Technical Institute; $50,000.
  • Montgomery County – North Montco Tech Career Center; $50,000.
  • Northampton County – Career Institute of Technology; $13,000.
  • Schuylkill County – Schuylkill Technology Centers; $47,734.
  • York County – York County School of Technology; $50,000.

Officials said the number of career and technical education students earning industry-recognized credentials increased by 50.1 percent and the number of credentials earned by students enrolled in CTE programs has grown by 43.3 percent since 2014-15. There are currently more than 80 CTCs in Pennsylvania.

Gov. Tom Wolf’s PAsmart initiative is investing $70 million over two years to expand science and technology education, apprenticeships and industry partnerships in schools, including $10 million for CTCs.

LCTI will use the funds to buy a new forklift for its supply chain logistics program and a lathe for its precision machine technology program, said Kurt Adam, director of career and technical education at LCTI.

“Both are replacements for equipment that is dated and worn,” Adam said. “The lathe is a good training tool for students and still used in industry. The forklift is again to better provide students with equipment they will use out there working in the logistics sector.”

LCTI applies for different state grants each year, he added.

For this competitive equipment grant, LCTI has to receive approval from the Lehigh Valley Workforce Investment Board. The WIB to has to sign off on LCTI’s application before they can apply, noting that the equipment will be used in high priority occupations in companies that are part of science, technology, math and engineering as well as manufacturing, he added.