Senator Argall joins AIA Pennsylvania announcing Neighborhood Restoration Act

HARRISBURG Senator David Argall (R-Schuylkill/Berks) joined the Pennsylvania chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) today to announce the PA Neighborhood Restoration Act, which will help to improve our cities and neighborhoods throughout the Commonwealth, while leveraging the wealth of talent of incoming architects.

“Numerous communities across the Commonwealth are in desperate need of revitalization,” said Argall. “This legislation will help to bring architecture services and an infusion of new project ideas to areas where they may not have been available.”

According to a survey conducted by the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS), students graduating with a Bachelor of Architecture degree leave school with over $42,000 in debt, while students graduating with a Masters in Architecture degree have over $72,000 in debt. Compare that with the $26,600 average loan debt of non-architecture college graduates, according to the nonprofit Project on Student Debt, and architecture students are graduating with some of the highest loan balances in the country.

“The economy hit architects hard in 2008 forcing many firms to lay off staff or even close, leaving many architecture students not able to find jobs in their field,” said Michael Skolnick, Board President, AIA Pennsylvania.

This legislation will allow students, intern architects, and recent graduates who contribute design services to underserved areas in Pennsylvania to be provided with some student loan assistance.

“Millions of young people aspire to help their communities build a better future, but a lack of opportunity and the crushing cost of education hold them back,” said Danielle Mitchell, Architecture Student, Pennsylvania State University. “This real world experience will help individuals become more thoughtful, civic minded architects, grounded in the real world issues that affect their community.”

“This is the missing link between my professional career and the ability to apply the skillset that I’ve developed in school and at work towards more community-focused design,” said Lea Oxenhandler, Intern Architect, Kieran Timberlake. “These are invaluable experiences and opportunities allowing me to take on leadership roles that are few and far between at the intern level.”

AIA members from all across the Commonwealth participated in Architects Action Day which launched the campaign #ILookUp. Architecture surrounds our daily lives and architects will be encouraging everyone to “look up.”

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