Secretary of Education, Dr. Khalid Mumin, recently toured schools and colleges within the BLaST Intermediate Unit 17 region, underscoring the importance of career preparedness, educator workforce development, and teacher certification pathways. 

One of the stops along the way was at the BLaST IU 17 headquarters to learn more about the ‘earn while you learn’ teacher certification pathways for working paraeducators. BLaST was one of only ten IU’s across the Commonwealth to receive the Governor’s competitive Paraeducator Preparedness Pathways Grant designed to support special education paraeducators to earn a teaching certification while they continue working. Through the support of this grant, BLaST is partnering with Luzerne County Community College, to offer an innovative teacher certification career pathway. Participating special education paraeducators represent BLaST Intermediate Unit 17, South Williamsport Area School District, Sullivan County School District, and Canton Area School District. 

“The Governor’s grant elevates the important role of paraeducators in regenerating our teaching pipeline and represents the Commonwealth’s investment in addressing the teacher shortage. By pursuing their teaching certification, paraeducators are not only furthering their professional growth but are also diversifying and strengthening our future teacher workforce,” noted Dr. Christina Steinbacher-Reed, Executive Director of BLaST Intermediate Unit 17, 

BLaST worked closely with the Secretary’s team to coordinate the visit across our region, including visits to the Lycoming Career and Technology Center, Williamsport School District’s Career and Technical Education program, Pennsylvania College of Technology, Northern Tier Career Center, and Commonwealth University’s Mansfield Campus.