Wolf’s budget plan: Correct emphasis, details will be vital

To use a well-worn phrase, the devil will be in the details regarding Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget address emphasis on a statewide initiative to build a stronger work force for the future.

But his emphasis is correct.

It is the business of state government, business organizations and all education venues to teach, prepare and train a work force that matches the labor needs of the future.

The challenge for Wolf’s program, which goes by the name of the Statewide Workforce, Education and Accountability Program, is to make it a practical driver of future employment in Pennsylvania.

We don’t need a money-sucking bureaucracy. The state has plenty of those.

Wolf is proposing an investment in workforce development, almost from birth, based on the teaching of new skills through the educational system.

How that actually plays out will be worth monitoring in the weeks ahead.

A lot of that is supposed to already be in place. And that is the case locally, where programs have been instituted at the Pennsylvania College of Technology to match business and industry needs.

There is a clear need for more emphasis on teaching kids mathematics and science skills. That’s been obvious for a decade and programs have been started to emphsize that initiative.

So what new can be added and can it be done in a practical public-private partnership that benefits all Pennsylvanians without simply adding to the state’s budget costs and bureaucracy?

That will be the key.

As for the entire budget, we hope a hard look is taken at all of the details of the $85.8 billion in spending. The state has been spending beyond its needs for a couple decades and can’t continue that trend.

It is up to the Legislature to take the best intentions Wolf has with this budget proposal and avoid a budget that spends beyond Pennsylvania’s needs.