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Field Hearings Examine Local Solutions to Improve Education, Economy

This week, the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce, chaired by Rep. John Kline (R-MN), held two field hearings in Pennsylvania and New York entitled, “Reviving our Economy: The Role of Higher Education in Job Growth and Development.”

The field hearings were designed to solicit feedback on education and workforce needs in American communities.  Each featured panel discussions on the state of the local economy and the ability of higher education institutions to successfully prepare graduates to join the workforce.

“Understanding the challenges and opportunities facing local communities is critical to ensuring Washington does not stand in the way of growth and prosperity,” said Chairman Kline.  “In Pennsylvania and New York, business and education leaders described local efforts to promote a competitive workforce and shared concerns about overly intrusive federal regulations. As we work to improve education and foster a growing economy, the ideas and feedback we received in Wilkes-Barre and Utica will prove invaluable.  I’d like to thank Representatives Barletta and Hanna for welcoming the committee to their districts.”

Chairman Kline joined Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA) at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania on Monday for the first field hearing. Local officials and business leaders, as well as representatives from Wilkes University, Lackawanna College, Empire Beauty Schools and Luzerne County Community College, served as witnesses and participated in panel discussions during the hearing.

"In order to successfully grow our economy and create jobs, we must constantly listen to the thoughts and concerns of our local businesses and educational institutions," Rep. Barletta said. "I thank Chairman Kline for providing Northeastern Pennsylvania with a seat at the table as we discuss ways to improve our schools and our economy."

On Tuesday, Chairman Kline traveled to Utica, New York to join Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY) at the State University of New York Institute of Technology (SUNYIT).  Testimony was delivered by Oneida County officials, business professionals, and education leaders from SUNYIT, Herkimer County Community College, and Utica College.

"Clearly there are opportunities to connect our schools with companies and agencies here to produce a local workforce for the future," Rep. Hanna said. "Our children are our greatest asset and education must be this nation's highest priority. I am honored Chairman Kline could be in Utica to listen to our community's needs and concerns."

To read testimony and view related documents from the Wilkes-Barre and Utica field hearings, visit Photo albums from the events are available at