U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson toured Admiral Peary Area Vocational-Technical School in Ebensburg Wednesday, as a way to get to know one of his new congressional districts better: Cambria County.
Thompson is also a strong supporter of vocational training. He proposed a bill that increases funding for vocational schools. It passed unanimously in the House and is waiting on a vote in the Senate.
“This legislation not only addresses high school students, but adults at any age that are seeking a pathway to opportunity,” said Rep. Thompson, the Republican congressman for the current 5th district. “When we invest in career and technical education training, it puts people to work with family-sustaining wages.”
At Admiral Peary, about 500 students are enrolled in programs like carpentry, masonry and engineering technology. Out of the 20 graduating seniors, 18 already have jobs.
Admiral Peary’s Executive Director Ken Jubas said the school is grateful for Thompson’s support.
“We’re happy to have him here,” said Jubas. “His proposal: it’s been huge for us. We use it for staffing, we use it for programs.”
Although, the school still needs more funding. Jubas said it’s up to leaders like Thompson to ensure that opportunities are available.
“If the money goes away, the programs and everything else goes away. So, it ‘s a community partnership. We need help from the bigger people who are responsible on the floor,” Jubas said.
Thompson currently represents much of northern Central Pennsylvania’s 5th district. Next year, he hopes to be re-elected and take on most of Cambria County in the new 15th district.
“I didn’t agree with the process, but it is what it is. I was actually thrilled with the maps that were drawn for me, personally,” Thompson said.
Cambria County will be split. Thompson won’t represent the City of Johnstown or some surrounding communities.
“I have always had counties where I split those counties with other members of congress. And quite frankly, it’s worked out well for those counties. They had twice the voice, twice the votes. Really, with good teamwork it comes out to positive things for our county,” Thompson said.
He plans to learn about the issues and challenges facing Cambria County residents by going out and meeting with them.
“By being here. By showing up, by visiting. By spending time, by becoming a part of the fabric of the community,” Thompson said. “‘m able to come out and hear directly from individuals. We talk about their problems and their issues, but most importantly I push people to ask what their solutions are.”
Thompson also toured a local manufacturing company and met with residents. He’s planning several other meet-and-greets leading up to the election this fall.