A proposed boost for technical education qualifications

State Assemblyman Andrew Goodell is co-sponsoring a bill that would establish a Career and Technical Education (CTE) Diploma. This diploma would provide a new alternative pathway to a high school graduation that incorporates career focused education classes into school programs. It is designed to produce more highly-skilled workers for technical and manufacturing industries statewide.

The new CTE pathway would offer high school students more career-focused classes and curriculum, particularly in manufacturing and technical skills areas. This CTE education would include courses of study in agriculture, business and marketing, family and consumer sciences, technical education and trade and industrial education.

Today’s manufacturing and technical jobs often require special skill sets and can offer above average salaries and benefits; however, a shortage of skilled applicants in technical and manufacturing applications is becoming a burden to New York state business owners. The creation of a specialized technical education diploma referred to as a CTE diploma will chart a new pathway to high-school graduation. Creating a CTE pathway to graduation would encourage students in welding, culinary, green energy, health services, mechanical technology, computer systems and networking and other technical education programs to advance to a two-year institution or a certificate-based program – decreasing overall dropout rates and closing New York state’s middle skills job gap. A CTE diploma pathway will also teach the skills students need to attain jobs in a variety of industries, including high-tech manufacturing, nanotechnology, cybersecurity, biosciences and more.

This proposal comes as New York state is phasing out the current Local Diploma option for high school students. The Local Diploma has been an alternative for students who have not been on track to earn a Regents Diploma. A CTE course of study aligns with the Chamber/MAST Dream It Do It initiative that encourages high school students to consider careers and education in technical skills including manufacturing. The Business Council will hold a sub-committee meeting on career and technical education April 25 in Albany.

Chamber advocates for meaningful state reforms

As the Chamber writes this, an agreement is expected in Albany on a fiscal 2014-2015 budget for the state of New York. The budget deadline is April 1, and both the Assembly and Senate have approved a number of one-house bills. The goal now is to bring the sides together and accomplish a budget on time and one that could improve the business climate statewide.

We strongly encourage lawmakers to make reforms that will help businesses reduce costs. This includes the cancellation of the 18-A surcharge on electricity which is paid by both business and residential customers. Reform of the Scaffold Law would also assist businesses by helping to reduce workers compensation costs. Other items on the docket include a reduction in the corporate income tax so that businesses in New York can reinvest in job creation, and reform of the estate tax to help family-owned businesses transfer operations from one generation to the next.

Taxes are truly at the heart of the issue. In order for New York state to become more business-friendly, the high property tax burden must be addressed. This includes a focus in some areas where Albany has not made headway; areas such as streamlining and consolidating services and providing mandate relief to local governments.

Chamber State Legislative Breakfast April 11

Each year the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce provides opportunities for its members to have a direct conversation with elected officials from each level of government. This year, the State Legislative Breakfast will be held April 11 at the Lakewood Rod & Gun Club, 433 E. Terrace Ave., Lakewood.

Senator Catharine Young and Assemblyman Andrew Goodell will provide their insights about legislation in Albany, and be available for questions from the audience.

This event is sponsored by Chadwick Bay Broadcasting WDOE/ WBKX, DFT Communica-tions, Double A Vineyards, Fredonia College Founda-tion, Jamestown Commu-nity College, Jamestown Mattress Company, KeyBank, Nestle Purina PetCare, OBSERVER, The Post-Journal, Serta Mattress Company, SKF Aeroengine North America, WCA Hospital and WJTN/ WWSE/WKSN/WHUG/ WQFX WJTN. The cost to attend is just $18 per person. To register call the Chamber at 484-1101 or 366-6200 or visit the Chamber website at www.chautauquachamber.org.

Hanover Community Chamber appreciation luncheon April 30

The Hanover Community Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual Member Appreciation Luncheon on Wednesday, April 30. The event will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Colony Seafood and Steakhouse, 876 Main Road, Irving.

Kelly Borrello, Hanover Community Chamber president, will give a brief introduction and opening remarks. Silver Creek Mayor Nick Piccolo will discuss economic development in the village. Craig Colburn, director of member development, and Todd Tranum, president and CEO of the county Chamber, will speak on the state of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce.

All Hanover Community Chamber members are welcome to attend. The cost of the lunch is $15, with a choice of either smoked roasted salmon or grilled chicken caprese. To make reservations please call 366-6200 or sign up online at www.chautauquachamber.org. Reservations are appreciated by April 20.