Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush (R,C,I-Black River) is joining with a Utica Democrat to promote the creation of a high school Career and Technical Education (CTE) diploma that would bear the same status as a traditional Regents Diploma.
The “21st Century Education Initiative” is designed to increase graduation rates while teaching students marketable manufacturing and technical skills for the new economy.
“The 21st Century Education Initiative encourages our young people to pursue educational paths that will teach them marketable technical skills, which our new economy requires,” said Blankenbush. “This bi-partisan effort will help increase graduation rates and prepare more of our young people to successfully compete for jobs in the 21st Century.”
In his statement, Blankenbush said that employers, especially in manufacturing and hi-tech manufacturing, “have expressed concerns about the limited pool of skilled workers. Technical skills like welding, machining, plumbing and electrical work are highly marketable due to the abundance of jobs in these fields. According to employers throughout the North Country and the Mohawk Valley, the jobs are there, but there aren’t enough qualified workers to fill the positions.”
The 117th District assemblyman, along with 119th District Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi, say that the initiative is gaining support among educators, employers and business groups.
The assemblymen said they believe CTE diplomas will give New York students a competitive edge in the job market.
“We have to rethink how we prepare our kids for the workforce, and technical career paths must be included in these discussions,” said Blankenbush, whose district includes the St. Lawrence County towns of DeKalb, Gouverneur, Hermon, Russell, Edwards, Fowler and Pitcairn along with Lewis County and parts of Jefferson and Oneida counties.