Gov. Tom Wolf announced the opening of a new fellowship program through his Manufacturing PA Initiative designed to partner Pennsylvania’s best and brightest undergraduate and graduate students with local manufacturers to develop new technologies and advance innovation statewide.
“While exploring all the ways in which we could advance technology and innovation in the manufacturing sector, we realized that some of our best resources are the minds and enthusiasm of our students,” Wolf said. “By helping connect these students with manufacturers and giving them a real-world application for their research, we’re giving manufacturing companies greater ability to harness young talent to develop transformative new processes and technology.”
The fellowship program will embed student fellows from any accredited Pennsylvania college or university with local manufacturing companies and provide funding for research projects designed to develop new products or processes for that company.
Universities that partner with a manufacturer can apply for and receive between $25,000 and $70,000 in funding for specific student research projects.
The fellowship was developed through collaboration with Pennsylvania’s seven research institutions, manufacturers and industrial resource centers across the commonwealth and will be administered by the Department of Community and Economic Development.
Universities may submit ideas for projects at manufacturingpa.org. Project proposals are due by June 12, with award notices for selected projects expected to be issued by end of July.
The Manufacturing Innovation Program is one of three components of Wolf’s Manufacturing PA Initiative launched in October 2017. The initiative is aimed at ensuring that training leads to careers that provide higher pay and opportunities for advancement and build a 21st century workforce.
Wolf has made connecting students with career pathways a top priority of his administration. In addition to Manufacturing PA, the governor’s PAsmart proposal calls for a $40 million increase in programs to develop 21st century jobs and skills, which will enhance career and technical education programs and in-demand career pathways, promote employer engagement in post-secondary education, and enhance computer science education at all levels.
Morgan Cephas bill to give second chance to students
State Rep. Morgan Cephas (D-192) recently hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing on her H.B. 2210 that would expunge student disciplinary records for nonviolent offenses.
Cephas requested the hearing to discuss the importance of ensuring nonviolent offenses would not have long-term negative impacts on students. Cephas was joined by legislators from across the state, including Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla (D-96).
“I am excited to have the House Democratic Policy Committee here in Philadelphia to discuss my legislation,” Cephas said. “Giving students the opportunity to make amends and seek redemption for past actions is important. When it relates to nonviolent offenses, allowing them the chance to show their community they are sorry for their actions and ready to learn and grow from those mistakes is a big step in growing up and should not have a permanent negative impact on their future.”
Sturla added, “Mistakes are a part of life and a nonviolent infraction should not have a long-term negative impact on kids’ lives. Rep. Cephas’ bill is a great chance for those who have made mistakes to do what the school district asks to give them a clean slate and not let those mistakes forever impact the course of their future.”
Testifiers included: Jeff Hullrung, school board president of the Unionsville-Chadds Ford School District; James Plunkett, executive director of admissions at La Salle University; Reynelle Brown Staley, policy attorney at the Education Law Center; Tara Murtha, associate director of strategic communications at the Women’s Law Project; Amy Warner, deputy director-juvenile probation in the First Judicial District; Gregg Volz, director of the Youth Court Support Center at EducationWorks; and Elzat Erken, youth commissioner for the Philadelphia Youth Commission.
The meeting is one in a series being held across the state on House Democrats’ Plan4PA that includes putting people first, good jobs, quality schools and fair taxes. Additional information about the Plan4PA is available at www.plan4pa.com. Materials from the hearing will be available at www.pahouse.com/policycommittee.
AG urges safe disposal of unused prescription drugs
Attorney General Josh Shapiro encouraged Pennsylvanians to join the fight against the opioid epidemic by turning in old or unused prescription medications.
“Eighty percent of people suffering from opioid addiction started by abusing prescription drugs, and the vast majority of those who misuse these drugs got them from friends, relatives or a medicine cabinet,” Shapiro said. “I am encouraging Pennsylvanians to safely dispose of their unused prescription medications at a drop box in their communities.”
Shapiro highlighted the toll the epidemic is taking on Pennsylvania. An average of 15 Pennsylvanians die every day from drug addiction. In 2016, 4,642 Pennsylvanians fatally overdosed — a 37 percent increase from 2015. The final 2017 numbers are expected to be higher.
Shapiro said actions his office is taking to confront the epidemic include:
Collecting and destroying more than 56 tons of drugs since he took office in January 2017.
Arresting on average of nearly five drug dealers per day.
Increasing drug diversion-related arrests by 72 percent.
Distributing 300,000 drug deactivation and disposal bags at pharmacies across Pennsylvania in counties hit hardest by the epidemic.
Distributing an additional 50,000 bags at hospices and homecare organizations.
Working with the insurance industry to increase access to substance abuse treatment.
“Drug disposal is a core part of our strategy in combating the opioid epidemic,” Shapiro said. “We’ve significantly bolstered our efforts by increasing access to drug disposal pouches and take back boxes to make it easier for Pennsylvanians to dispose of unwanted prescription drugs.”
National Drug Take Back Day, which was last Saturday, was created to educate the public about the safe disposal of prescription medications. Drugs that are improperly disposed of can fall into the hands of someone who will misuse them or harm the environment, groundwater or native wildlife.