HANOVER, Pa., Aug. 21, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Secretary of Education Ron Tomalis today visited McClarin Plastics in Hanover to highlight the education recommendations contained in a report issued by Governor Tom Corbett's Manufacturing Advisory Council.
Tomalis urged Pennsylvania's education and manufacturing sectors to work together to ensure students have access to quality curriculum and programs to enter the workforce upon graduation.
"Without a doubt, education impacts every facet of our lives, as well as the economy," Tomalis said. "For the economy to grow and remain sustainable, today's students must have access to quality educational programs that will provide them with the necessary skills and knowledge to be successful in the workforce."
Recognizing manufacturing's value to Pennsylvania's economy, Corbett last year commissioned an advisory council to identify and prioritize top issues that can help influence, sustain and advance the commonwealth's manufacturing sector.
Led by the Team Pennsylvania Foundation, the 24-member council sent its report to the Governor and the General Assembly outlining 15 recommendations it believes will help Pennsylvania remain competitive in today's global economy.
The report highlights the challenges that many companies face in finding workers with the education and skills needed to fill the growing number of advanced manufacturing positions available.
"McClarin recognized this fact several years ago and embarked on a program to establish partnerships with several school districts," said Todd Kennedy, president of McClarin Plastics. "This program seeks to acquaint students, teachers and parents with the opportunities in advanced manufacturing through internships, job shadowing, and other programs, such as 'Educator in the Workplace.' McClarin felt that teachers, students and parents needed to get into manufacturing facilities and the industry needed to have a presence in the schools."
Of particular importance is the council's recommendation to implement a system to evaluate and provide targeted support to educators with the ultimate goal of increasing teacher effectiveness.
When Corbett signed the 2012-13 state budget into law, it included a measure to ensure that every student in Pennsylvania has access to a quality educator.
Virtually unchanged for more than 40 years, the educator evaluation system will, for the first time, include multiple measures of student achievement.
Under the new system, 50 percent of an educators' evaluation will be based on multiple measures of student achievement, with the remaining 50 percent based upon traditional educator practice and observations.
"Research shows that the most important factor in a student's academic success is the quality of the individual's teaching in and leading our schools," Tomalis said. "This new evaluation method will provide critical feedback to both educators and their supervisors on where to best focus their resources to improve educator effectiveness. Pennsylvania taxpayers invest more than $500 million each year into professional development and this new evaluation system will assist in directing those dollars into areas that will benefit students."
The GMAC panel consisted of 24 members from a cross-section of manufacturing interests including heavy machinery, minerals, pharmaceuticals, plastics, steel and textiles. The council also includes three members of manufacturing trade associations and one from the Industrial Resource Center. Team Pennsylvania Foundation funded the council and no taxpayer dollars were used to support this initiative.
Tomalis highlighted the education findings in the report during a visit to McClarin Plastics, which specializes in contract manufacturing of composite, thermoplastic and/or metal assemblies offering turnkey value-added solutions. McClarin Plastics, which encompasses 400,000 square-feet of manufacturing space throughout three facilities in Hanover, was founded in 1953.
"Education plays an integral part in the future success of the commonwealth and its citizens," Tomalis said. "It's imperative for the public and private sectors to join together to foster an environment where students are provided the opportunity to obtain a high-quality education that will pay dividends well into the future."
Similar events were held throughout the state today with Governor Corbett in Breinigsville, Lehigh County; Department of Labor and Industry Secretary Julia Hearthway in Philadelphia; and Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Alan Walker, in Duquesne, Allegheny County.
The full report is available at www.teampa.com/manufacturingcouncil.
Tim Eller, Department of Education, 717-783-9802
Todd Kennedy, McClarin Plastics, 717-637-2241
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Education