SHARE Email Facebook Twitter PAsmart, Press Release Harrisburg, PA – After securing the vast majority of his bold budget plan to strengthen Pennsylvania’s workforce, Governor Tom Wolf today highlighted how his PAsmart initiative is preparing students and workers for good careers in emerging industries.“Last year, I launched PAsmart as a new way to invest in education and job training so workers can get the skills to compete for the jobs of today and the future,” said Governor Wolf. “By expanding PAsmart this year, we’re signaling to businesses that Pennsylvania is ready with theworkers they need.”Guided by the recommendations of businesses and workers, PAsmart makes strategic investments to help close the skills gap and train more people for jobs that employers need. This year, the governor secured a $10 million increase to $40 million for PAsmart.“With PAsmart, Pennsylvania will have the most prepared and talented workforce in the country, which will help businesses succeed, grow the middle class, and strengthen the economy for everyone,” said Governor Wolf. “We are partnering with private industry and schools to strategically invest in science and technology education, expand apprenticeships, and increase on-the-job training for good careers.”In the inaugural year, the Wolf administration awarded nearly $10 million in PAsmart grants, of up to $35,000 each, to 765 schools to expand computer science classes and teacher training, and nearly $10 million in advancing grants, up to $500,000 each, to 24 schools and community partnerships. The remaining $10 million supported apprenticeships and job training.The projects included CS/STEM camps and after-school programs; STEM programming for preK-2 students and classrooms; a mobile fabrication lab where students gain hands-on experience in coding and robotics; the expansion of a western Pennsylvania STEM lending library to serve hundreds of school districts, and support for diversity and inclusion on esports teams in high-need areas.With PAsmart, Pennsylvania is a national leader in STEM and computer science education and accomplishments under Governor Wolf include:• Ranking second in the nation for investments in computer science education;• Advancing Pennsylvania to third in the nation in the number of nationally-recognized STEM ecosystems and made the commonwealth the fifth largest producer of STEM graduates;• Establishing standards for computer science education in all Pennsylvania schools;• Joining the Governors’ Partnership for K-12 Computer Science, a bipartisan initiative organized by Code.org, to advance policy, funding, and professional learning for computer science education.To celebrate STEM learning, the governor visited with students at a summer STEM camp at Harrisburg University of Science & Technology. The students are learning to use drones to benefit agriculture, including to create highly accurate aerial photos and maps using Global Positioning Systems and Geospatial Information Systems technologies. July 08, 2019 Gov. Wolf: PAsmart Makes Pennsylvania a Leader in STEM Education
Sarah Gehlert has been selected as the next School of Social Work dean, the University announced Tuesday. In May, the school was operating in a budget deficit that was projected to reach an estimated $40 million by 2020, the Los Angeles Times reported, although USC administrators indicated the gap was closer to $10 million. The budget news came a year after former School of Social Work Dean Marilyn Flynn stepped down from her position and took on a role as special adviser in the Office of the Provost following the publication of an L.A. Times investigation that revealed that Flynn transferred $100,000 donated to the School of Social Work by L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas to the account of a nonprofit organization run by Ridley-Thomas’ son, Sebastian, a former USC professor. “It’s not well known nationally how close the school’s ties to the community are,” Gehlert said. “I think that the School of Social Work has to make impact, it has to make social change and generally we start in the area where we live.” Questions have surfaced regarding the future of the School of Social Work’s online degree offerings and lax admissions criteria. Gehlert said she plans to work with current faculty to identify areas in need of attention, taking student input into consideration. “The graduates that we prepare go out and have a lot of power over people who tend often to be powerless,” Gehlert said. “I take that very, very seriously. I think that our education has to be worthy of the people who we are serving.” Gehlert, who has served as dean of the University of South Carolina’s College of Social Work since 2017, will assume her new role in April, replacing Interim Dean Suzanne Wenzel. Executive Vice Provost Elizabeth Graddy and Davis School of Gerontology Dean Pinchas Cohen spearheaded the 16-month search for a dean. Sarah Gehlert said she plans to work with faculty and students to identify any necessary changes amid budget problems. She plans to encourage community engagement and research partnerships with other USC schools.(Photo courtesy of USC) “The problems that we face, the issues, the research that we do is big,” Gehlert said. “You can’t really do it in one discipline or one profession, so I’m looking forward to [collaborating with other schools].” Central to her mission in her new position will be reinforcing the school’s commitment to providing a quality education for students who will represent and advocate for other members of the community, Gehlert said. Gehlert’s research has focused on the intersection of social and medical issues. She serves on the steering committee of the California Breast Cancer Research Program, and she said she plans to emphasize multidisciplinary approaches and partnerships with other USC schools. Gehlert is in her fourth year as president of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare and said she plans to continue in her role there. As dean, Gehlert said she will prioritize community engagement and encourage further research about L.A.’s homelessness epidemic. “Making changes right away, unless there’s a real problem, would be a mistake,” Gehlert said. “I’m not going to certainly dawdle, but I am going to spend a lot of time talking to students, talking to alum, talking to staff, talking to faculty and trying to see what are the best solutions.” Gehlert’s appointment comes during a tumultuous period for the School of Social Work. The school has faced criticism in recent years for its budget problems and for allegedly lowering its admissions standards in an effort to compensate for a lack of funds.