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Wayne, Pike Counties fight for CTC program

65 of the 67 Pennsylvania counties have a career and technical center. School leaders are working to change that.

HAWLEY, Pa. — Whether it's preparing a decadent lunch in the culinary kitchen, learning how to take flight, or creating designs on a 3-D printer, the Wallenpaupack Area School District in Hawley is giving students a taste of a variety of career paths.

"We go over everything you could see in the workforce, so I have learned what I really like to do. I really like mechanical engineering; that's what I strive to hopefully do when I am older," said senior Evan Peppiatt. 

Wayne and Pike Counties are the only counties in Pennsylvania without a career and technical center to build on those skills. 

"The difficult part is we are not able to expand these programs due to the fact that we don't have the ability to expand our linear footprint of our buildings," said Wallenpaupack Area Superintendent Keith Gunuskey. 

Back in the 1970's Wayne Highlands, Delaware Valley, Western Wayne, and Wallenpaupack petitioned the state to build its own career and technical center. It got approval, but the project never got off the ground.

The four districts are once again coming together with state lawmakers to talk about future plans. 

"There is a crisis nationwide with the workforce, and so we have to build our own. Without a career and tech center, it has been difficult," said educational consultant Joann Hudak. 

"A CTC may offer anywhere from 20 to 24 programs. We are only offering eight. We are very proud of those programs; they are exceptional. But it is not the type of opportunity a CTC would be able to provide," said Gunuskey. 

The districts have a vision for the career and tech center to not only teach students skills but also adults living in Wayne and Pike Counties.

"It is truly a barrier in our communities, especially to our adult population who have no access to technical training, having to drive 40 miles to Scranton to get trained," said Hudak. 

The four districts will now form a joint operating committee to explore grant opportunities to fund the estimated $50 million project.

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