Senate Passes Valesky Legislation to Create Career and Technical Education Diploma; Will Help Address Middle Skills Gap

David J. Valesky

June 20, 2014

ALBANY— The State Senate today passed landmark legislation sponsored by State Senator David J. Valesky (D-Oneida) that creates a new, specialized educational path to train students to fill the growing number of jobs in New York in manufacturing and high tech fields.

The legislation (S.5966) creates a Career and Technical Education (CTE) diploma to  provide an alternative pathway to a high school graduation that incorporates career-focused education classes and curriculum into school programs with the goal of producing more highly skilled workers for New York State's technical and manufacturing industries.

“The skills needed to perform jobs in our fastest growing industries have changed in the past decade,” Senator Valesky said. “The creation of a Career and Technical Education diploma will put students on a path to obtain hands-on, applied education at the high school level to meet the demands of companies, preparing them to either work in the field, enter apprenticeship programs, or continue to college.”

Specifically, the legislation adds a new section to education law that would result in either a regents or local diploma but with different requirements, including completion of a CTE sequence, completion of a technical assessment, completion of work-based learning, and completion of an employability profile. It would be available to all students, and include the fields of: agriculture education, business and marketing education, family and consumer sciences education, business and marketing education, technical education, and trade and industrial education. The Board of Regents would develop the regulations necessary to establish the curriculum and assessments.

The bill is sponsored in the Assembly by Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica). “I thank Assemblyman Brindisi for his hard work and I look forward to redoubling our efforts next session to advance this legislation,” Senator Valesky said.

“The CTE diploma will raise the graduation rate, provide good paying jobs for young people, and will also create more of the skilled labor our manufacturers need to fill existing positions,” Assemblyman Brindisi said. “I am pleased that the Senate has passed this legislation, and I look forward to continuing to work with Senator Valesky and other supporters of the CTE proposal to make it a reality.”

“I wish to thank Senator Valesky and the Senate for their support of this progressive CTE Pathways bill. The bill offers students the opportunity to achieve a Regents diploma through multiple pathways utilizing real world, industry-based experience, and the practical application of knowledge. This critical legislation further supports our mission to ensure that all students graduate college and career ready,” Jackie Starks, District Superintendent of Madison Oneida BOCES, said.

“An educated and trained workforce is a key driver of our regional economy," said Robert Simpson, President of CenterState CEO.  "We know employers face a growing need for skilled employees. This new Career and Technical Education diploma addresses a critical skills-gap and gives students a new path to career success in technology fields. We congratulate Senator David Valesky for recognizing this need and providing new tools to create opportunities for our region's talent.”