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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: December 19, 2014 09:52 AM
From: Senator Vincent J. Hughes
To: All Senate members
Subject: Health-Related Industries Education Scholarship Program
In the near future, I intend to introduce legislation that would amend the School Code to establish the Health-Related Industries Education Scholarship Program.

According to the Department of Labor and Statistics, health related occupations are listed as High-Priority Occupations within the Commonwealth. An HPO is not only an occupation that is in demand by employers, but is also an occupation which is most likely to provide family sustaining wages. These occupations require a higher skill set and consequently a greater investment in educational preparation.

My legislation creates the Health-Related Industries Educational Scholarship Program. Students who qualify for the program can receive financial assistance to complete their education for the purpose of pursuing an occupation in a health-related industry. The program incentivizes 2-year healthcare programs with a Pay-It-Forward plan and tax credits for businesses that will train/mentor student interns on the job.

This legislation in modeled after the Targeted Industry Program (PA-TIP) currently administered and funded by PHEAA. Adding 2-year health programs will provide students an opportunity to access the training needed to fill job openings in Pennsylvania's growing health care economy. Health care occupations are significant to the current and future workforce growth and economic viability of the Commonwealth.

According to the PA Department of Labor and Industry's 2014 Statewide High Priority Occupations, more than one in every six (19 of 111) High Priority Occupations (HPOs) are solely within the Health Care industry cluster. These health care HPOs represent over 10,600 available jobs each year or nearly 18% of all HPO annual job openings. Expanding the eligible PA-TIP programs to include the health care industries would provide much-needed financial assistance to students seeking to be employed in these critical occupations.

This bill is part of the multi-faceted College Access Plan (CAP). CAP is a comprehensive package of legislation designed to improve student access to higher education, reduce student debt and jump-start Pennsylvania's economy.

Introduced as SB106