Assemblyman Blankenbush wants to create high school diplomas in trade skills
Friday, March 7, 2014 - 2:42 pm

North Country Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush wants to create a technical diploma for high school students that emphasizes trade skills.

Blankenbush, who represents DeKalb, Gouverneur, Hermon, Russell, Edwards, Fowler and Pitcairn, joined Assembly members and Senators to encourage passage of the “21st Century Education Initiative” during this legislative session.

Blankenbush is one of the sponsors of the bill, which allows high school students to pursue a career and technical education (CTE) Diploma, emphasizing the development of trade skills.

“We need to pass the ‘21st Century Initiative’ this year, so New York’s high school students have opportunities to gain the knowledge needed to secure good jobs in the skilled work and trade industries,” Blankenbush said. “There is a bit of a disconnect between the current skills of New York’s workforce and the needs of our state’s employers. Upstate manufacturers have many vacant jobs, but are unable to find the skilled workers to fill those positions. Let’s make sure our high school students are learning the marketable skills needed to get these jobs – pass this bill now.”

In a press release Blankenbush said New York is ranked sixth nationally in manufacturing. It remains one of the largest industries in the state, but manufacturers have said it is difficult to fill available jobs with the skilled workers needed.

As hi-tech manufacturing expands, the demand for middle-skilled workers could grow by as much as 17.5 percent by 2020.

Blankenbush said the initiative will create the CTE Diploma. Students who follow the CTE path will use their elective classes to learn career-marketable trades.

These skills include machining, electrical, plumbing and welding, among others. Blankenbush said the goal is for these students to be proficient in their trade skill by graduation to fill available manufacturing and hi-tech jobs.

The legislation has over 65 sponsors in the Assembly and Senate.