Pennsylvania’s prosperity depends upon a well-educated workforce. The PA Chamber supports an education system that establishes clear accountability and provides every child with the opportunity to receive a quality education that will adequately prepare them for gainful employment or further education. This includes initiatives that provide families with options to best fit the specific education needs of students. We also promote workforce development programs that aim to close the jobs skills gap.

PA Chamber Testifies on Workforce Challenges in Rural Communities

May 26, 2023 | Michael Plummer

  HARRISBURG – This week, PA Chamber Director of Government Affairs Kevin Sunday testified on the ongoing workforce challenges that employers face in the Commonwealth’s rural communities during a public hearing at Penn College hosted by the Center for Rural Pennsylvania. The hearing brought together leaders from Pennsylvania’s energy and healthcare sectors as well as […]

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ICYMI: PA Chamber Co-Hosts Tele-Town Hall with U.S. Chamber Leaders

October 05, 2022

Discussion highlighted state and federal efforts to combat inflation and rising costs   In case you missed it, Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry President and CEO Luke Bernstein, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Suzanne Clark and Executive Vice President Neil Bradley, and thousands of concerned citizens from across Pennsylvania discussed key economic […]

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Western Governors University Launches Tech is Everywhere Scholarship

March 09, 2022

Western Governors University understands the need for skilled IT talent in the workforce.  That’s why they’ve placed great emphasis on giving their students the tools they need to flourish in any number of IT careers. WGU’s IT degree and certification programs can be the right solution for your employees, and their new Tech Is Everywhere […]

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To participate in the 21st-century economy, Pennsylvanians need a suite of skills, which are cultivated beginning at an early age, often through the public school system.

Employers continue to report difficulty finding individuals qualified to fill open positions or who even possess the basic skills that allow them to thrive. Employers note that the ability to collaborate, to communicate effectively, to learn content, to think critically and creatively and to have the grit and perseverance or confidence to learn from failure are central to today’s workforce needs. Confronting this challenge demands participation and enhanced coordination among stakeholders, including the business and education communities.

Education funding is an important part of the discussion but not a panacea, as evidenced by Pennsylvania K-12 education spending historically ranking among the highest in the nation. According to the most recent Census Bureau data, Pennsylvania has the 11th highest per pupil funding in the country, an amount 27 percent higher than the national average, when federal, state and local sources are combined. Evaluating per-pupil funding specifically from the state, Pennsylvania ranks 21st in the nation, roughly 10 percent above the national average. And according to the National Education Association, Pennsylvania teachers have the 10th highest starting salary in the country and the 7th highest salary for those with a Bachelor’s degree.

As employers and taxpayers, PA Chamber members know that fostering a vibrant knowledge economy requires an education system that will prepare students for the workplace of tomorrow and to be active citizens of their community.


Therefore, the Chamber supports systemic improvements to Pennsylvania’s public education system. To reach this goal, we must:

  •  Define what skills we want from our graduates and develop rigorous educational standards and meaningful assessment tools that can adequately measure growth in these skills;
  •  Develop and implement curriculum and pedagogy that emphasize social skills, literacy, civics, and a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) education consistent with the needs and expectations of the future job market;
  • Encourage educational institutions to emphasize workplace behaviors and skills, career awareness, and preparedness;
  • Develop and implement curriculum and a pedagogical approach that aligns with employer needs and expectations of employers and higher education; as well as providing for rigorous education standards and meaningful assessments and efforts to help achieve student success;
  • Ensure the alignment between school and ever-changing workplace needs while offering varied pathways for students, including postsecondary acceleration, community college, credential attainment, workforce readiness, and employer engagement;
  • Encourage more purposeful linkages between educational institutions, higher education, and the business community that will provide better alignment in coursework and skills carried into the workforce and develop curricular paths through education that optimize opportunities for graduates, including vocational educational programs targeted to meet emerging workforce needs, grow Pennsylvania businesses, and retain home-grown talent, promote career and technical education and efforts to eliminate the perceived bias against vocational and skilled trade-focused education; and
  • Provide and strengthen competitive educational systems and programs, such as high-performing charter schools, and the Educational Improvement Tax Credit program, that provide options for parents and students.


The PA Chamber further supports policies focused on education funding and improving school and district operations, including those that:

  • Facilitate fair and purposeful distribution of state education funding and effective utilization so that existing dollars are used first and foremost to increase student achievement and realize a higher return on taxpayer investment;
  • Recognize and reward teachers whose performance contributes to a development of a wide breadth of skills in student achievement, and, holding superintendents, principals and teachers accountable for student performance while recognizing variables that impact those outcomes;
  • Support increased local authority and flexibility over management and personnel decisions;
  • Encourage teacher professional development based on the science of learning and education so that district curricula can be taught in ways known to produce the highest quality results;
  • Prioritize policies that measure outcomes and impact on students rather than inputs;
  • Encourage policies that promote greater efficiency and opportunities for economies of scale among schools and school districts and elimination of unnecessary government mandates that
    divert resources from the mission of education; and
  • Support efforts to develop and implement innovative delivery approaches that embrace new technology, seek to improve skill set development, maximize value for the investment in education, and provide more educational opportunities for traditional and non-traditional student populations.

Revised and approved by the Policy Committee in October 2023. Approved by the Board of Directors on November 16, 2023