June 17, 2024 –Sen. Nick Miller (D-Lehigh/Northampton), Rep. Mike Schlossberg (D-Lehigh), Rep. Pete Schweyer (D-Lehigh) and Rep. Josh Siegel (D-Lehigh) secured a $1 million state grant in strategic investments to the Allentown School District. 

These include three separate partnerships with: 

  • DeSales University – Data Analytics  
  • Lehigh Carbon Community College and Cedar Crest College – Student-Teacher Pipeline 
  • Penn State University Lehigh Valley – Dual Enrollment. 

The funding will also go toward facilities, mental health and other school-based needs determined by the superintendent and the school board.  

“This is a strategic and purposeful investment to continue to drive up graduation rates and career readiness,” said Miller. “We are preparing students for the workforce, providing them with opportunities to go into fields like manufacturing, healthcare, education or business. Programs like these provide students the pathway to earning their bachelor’s or entering the workforce.” 

“We are lucky to have institutions of higher learning in the Lehigh Valley that are dedicated to their students and community,” said Siegel. “The college partnerships with the Allentown School District are vital to giving students a hand up in reaching their career and life goals. I was happy to help fund these programs and look forward to doing all I can to give the best educational opportunities to our students.” 

The partnership with DeSales University created the Allentown Summer Artificial Intelligence Institute, which is an eight-week program for 20 ASD students at the DeSales University Hub in downtown Allentown. Those enrolled will spend 36 hours per week on the program and will receive a stipend of up to $4,355, along with six credits from DeSales University, daily transportation, breakfast and lunch. Students will study the data analytics process, including question development, data collection, preparation for analysis, statistical application, visualization and articulation of findings. 

“This is an incredible resource for these students,” said Miller. “This will provide them with a foundation to their future careers. As technology continues to evolve at such a rapid rate, they will be at the forefront of it, with help from some of the best educators.”  

“We all know that partnerships are often key components of success,” said Schweyer. “The collaboration between the Allentown School District and our local college institutions will offer important opportunities that can help our student determine what path they want to take for a successful future. I am always pleased when I can collaborate with my colleagues to bring funding to Allentown.” 

Penn State Lehigh Valley created a Pre-College Academy with ASD. The academy will host rising juniors and seniors to attend dual enrollment college courses that will focus on college preparedness, introduction to business and entrepreneurial innovation. Students will also attend from a summer math academy. 

“Making the transition from high school to college is a challenge for many students,” said Miller. “This program will help them prepare for their next educational steps, as well as help guide them on their career paths. I am excited for the next generation of Lehigh Valley entrepreneurs to have this opportunity.”  

The partnership with Lehigh Carbon Community College and Cedar Crest College is for future educators. Twenty ASD students will complete up to 13 credits in education classes during their senior year via LCCC. Students would then go on to earn their associate’s degree at LCCC before transferring to Cedar Crest College to earn their bachelor’s.  

“This program will allow future educators to get a head start on obtaining their degrees before hopefully remaining in the commonwealth to start their careers,” said Miller. “This will address the need for more teachers in Pennsylvania.”  

“Summer presents incredible opportunities for students to learn and grow for whatever lays ahead,” said Schlossberg.  “I’m proud of the relationships the Allentown School District has formed with area legislators, local colleges and universities to open doors for Allentown’s students. As the General Assembly tackles the ongoing educator shortage, I am especially excited to see the efforts that would compliment ‘Grow Our Own’ educator initiatives many of us are trying to launch across Pennsylvania. I look forward to the great new discoveries, career pathways or passions this summer will unlock in our community.”