Education, Press Release, Workforce Development Bethlehem, PA – Governor Tom Wolf touted the importance of science and technology education while visiting Pennsylvania student teams competing in the FIRST Robotics Competition Mid-Atlantic Championship at Lehigh University. Dozens of teams from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware will vie for regional awards and the chance to move on to the national championship using robots they designed and built.“I wish all of the students in this regional robotics competition good luck this weekend. These teams and their robots show what Pennsylvanians can accomplish when given the opportunity,” said Governor Wolf. “There is no doubt that science and technology education are vital to our economic future. That is why last year I launched the groundbreaking PAsmart initiative to strategically invest in increased access to computer science and STEM education.“We also know that nearly every new job will require a person to use a computer in some way. By creating a more tech savvy workforce we can help Pennsylvania businesses to expand and power startups to grow into global corporations. But it all starts by making science and technology education a priority in our schools.”The student teams will compete over the next three days by remotely controlling robots through unpredictable terrain and weather patterns on the Planet Primus. Teams have only two minutes and thirty seconds to collect cargo and prepare their spaceships for departure before the next sandstorm arrives.To increase high-quality computer science and STEM education in elementary, middle, and high schools, and professional development for teachers, the Wolf administration recently awarded the first-ever PAsmart grants of nearly $20 million. The funding is expanding opportunities at 765 schools across the commonwealth and will bolster CS/STEM camps and after-school programs; support for diversity and inclusion on esports teams in high-need areas; STEM programming for preK-2 students and classrooms; and a mobile fabrication lab where students gain hands-on experience in coding and robotics.This year, the governor is proposing an additional $10 million for PAsmart to expand career and technical education for adults as well as job training programs at companies to enhance the skills of Pennsylvania workers.“Pennsylvania is among the national leaders in STEM and technology education, but we must keep pushing forward,” said Governor Wolf. “These students have created amazing robots but imagine what advances will happen over their lifetimes and careers. Whether they’re going to a trade school or college, all students need a solid foundation with these skills.”Qualifying matches for the FIRST Robotics Competition Mid-Atlantic Championship continue at Stabler Arena through Saturday morning and final round matches are Saturday afternoon. The national championship is later this month in Detroit, Michigan. April 04, 2019 Gov. Wolf Visits Students at Robotics Competition, Touts PAsmart Investments SHARE Email Facebook Twitter
The small but rich Dutch pension fund HAL indicated it considered the policy of supervisor De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) as encouraging small schemes to liquidate and a risk to its existence.In its annual report for 2016, the €132m scheme, with a nominal funding of 184%, said it had spotted a tendency at DNB to categorically perceive small pension funds as not futureproof.The board of Pensioenfonds HAL, which was established by the shipping company Holland America Line, responded to a warning from its visitation committee for internal supervision, an external body, which had also spotted risks as a consequence of supervisory measures. However, pension fund HAL – with 42 active participants and more than 1,500 workers – does not feature on a list of 25 schemes deemed to be vulnerable by DNB. The scheme, nevertheless, is afraid that it will be harmed by other developments, such as the pending fundamental update of the Dutch pensions system.“What would be a solution for most pension funds, could become a – possibly insurmountable – problem to us,” it said.According to the visitation committee, “the increased burden of regulation raises the question whether the pension fund should consider alternatives”.The scheme’s board in turn stressed that it wanted to keep the scheme’s set-up as simple as possible.It acknowledged, however, that fundamental system changes had led to increased complexity and insecurity, adding that it was looking at the options to remain independent.In a comment, a spokesman for DNB said that “every scheme that is able to keep on complying with the increased demands from their participants, society and the legislator is futureproof, as far as we are concerned. However, we see that small schemes in particular must put in extra effort to keep on top of it.”He made clear that small pension funds must explain how they see their future.“But this is not because we think they should liquidate, but because we need to investigate and address their vulnerabilities,” he added.At year-end, the coverage ratio in real terms of the Pensioenfonds HAL stood at 142%, which means that the chance of a rights cut was less than 0.2%.The investment policy of the Pensioenfonds HAL is aimed at generating cashflows for the real pension benefits over the next fifteen years.Last year, it had an investment mix of 59% equity, 14% government bonds and 27% cash.The overall return was 3.3%, against 10% over 2015.The pension fund reported implementation costs of €141 per participant for 2016. It spent 0.68% of its average assets on asset management.