Updated 02/18/2013 07:20 PM
McCrory signs first bill as governor, focused on education
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ASHEBORO—Governor Pat McCrory has officially signed his first bill into law since taking office.
The law opens up several pathways for high school students interested in pursuing a degree from the state's community colleges. It is hoped the new law will help the Tar Heel State become more competitive both nationally and internationally.
McCrory signed Senate Bill 14 into law Monday morning, giving high school students more access to career and technical education.
"North Carolina, now more than ever, needs these skills,” said Gov. McCrory.
The law now requires the State Board of Education to develop career and college endorsements for high school diplomas.
"On the diploma, there will be three endorsements now: one will say 'vocational/technical,' one will say 'college,' and the other will say 'both,'” said Sen. Jerry Tillman, who helped sponsor the bill.
"It's going to give students an opportunity in high school to decide what kind of pathway they want to be on, and it will give them an opportunity to see what's available,” said Randolph Community College instructor Garret Parker.
The law also increases access to career and technical education teachers in public schools, which will hopefully foster future careers.
"For many of our students, that starts in career and technical education classes in high schools and community colleges and then working with industries to put those students to work,” said Randolph Community College president Robert Shackleford.
With the fifth highest unemployment rate in the nation, the new law aims to encourage more North Carolina students to enter high need employment areas.
"There's a lot of opportunities, especially here in North Carolina, for manufacturing and machining. Everything from making molds for your cell phone case, to making parts for airplanes and race cars,” said student Bill Cranford.
"If we match commerce together with education, then we'll be more competitive with our neighboring states and the rest of the world,” Gov. McCrory said.
The new law affects students who are graduating high school beginning with the 2014-2015 school year.