(WKTV) - It was a who's who of education Wednesday at the State Office Building in downtown Utica.
Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi had a forum on his plan to create and offer a career and technical diploma at New York's high schools.
Brindisi says he's spoken with manufacturers who need to hire well-paid laborers, but they just can't find them.
So Brindisi wants to create a new CTE diploma that will give students the skills and knowledge they need to walk into these jobs right out of high school. The first speaker at Wednesday's forum was State Education Commissioner John King.
King says the career and technical diploma would definitely fill a statewide need for employers and students. But first, people need to change the way they think of traditional vocational programs.
"One of the things we're trying to shift is how people think about career and technical education," King said. "There was a time when people thought of it as a track that would lead to less opportunity. But what we see today -- whether it's the nanotech industry or healthcare industry -- there are really good jobs with lots of opportunity for advancement."
Local superintendents, employers and teachers attended Wednesday's forum. In order for the diploma to be offered in New York state's high schools, the state legislature would have to pass it into law and the governor would have to sign off on it.