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Students could earn new type of diploma in NYS

By ANNA MEILER

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi announced a plan Monday to bridge the gap between local job vacancies and a lack of worker skills.

"There's so many jobs out there right now. Manufacturers all around the Mohawk Valley are telling me they're hiring, they're looking for skilled labor, but they just have a hard time finding it," said Brindisi.

"You saw the 'Help Wanted' sign out in our yard. We've had that out five years now. Very difficult to find anybody that has any technical background," said John Piseck, sales manager at CTM, a precision machining company in Frankfort, New York.

Brindisi is pushing the State Department of Education to create a Career and Technical Education (CTE) diploma.

"We've had a proposal now sitting in the Board of Regents for a year and a half to create an alternative diploma to the Regents Diploma, a diploma in career and technical education. That way, students who are interested in manufacturing can go that pathway and get a good job," said Brindisi.

He said this will not only boost graduation rates, it will open the door to employment opportunities straight out of high school.

"We're always looking to train some younger people and let them know there is a career here," said Piseck.

Students will continue to take classes they're enrolled in, but will have the option to replace some electives to better prepare them for welding, machining, plumbing and electrical work. At CTM, where they make parts for local guns, the rover on Mars and more, it's a very real demand.

"We need some employees that have basic training like shop math, know how to run a basic manual mill, a manual lathe, that can come in here and we can start to train on our own as well, but they have those basic skill sets that will help them help us, I guess, to continue to grow our business," said Piseck.

Brindisi also called this an urgent need and said the time to act is now.

"The next step really is we're going to take this on a state wide level. We have an initiative that many of the educators and business leaders are signing on to today. We're going to bring it state wide and gain more support across upstate. Really, we're trying to push the Board of Regents to act on this proposal because other states are doing this and New York is lagging behind," said Brindisi.

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