Expanding P-TECH in New York State

By Kristin Legere

Preparing today’s students for tomorrow’s workforce is one of The Business Council’s central goals. For this reason, The Business Council has partnered with a coalition of government, education, and business interests to implement the New York State Pathways in Technology Early College High School program (NYS P-TECH) in every economic development region in the state.

The collaboration among the Governor’s office, the State Education Department, the State University of New York, The Business Council, and IBM was announced earlier this year, after the formal announcement of the NYS P-TECH program in February.

“Moving New York State forward in its goal of preparing the next generation for careers in high-demand areas will help grow New York’s economy, meet future business needs, and ensure that students are qualified for jobs that are in high demand,” said Heather C. Briccetti, Esq., president and CEO of The Business Council.

The Public Policy Institute (PPI) has been designated to oversee financial operations for the NYS P-TECH Leadership Council staff and operations.

Robin Willner, a former vice president in charge of corporate citizenship at IBM, who previously worked at the New York City Department of Education, has been appointed director of the Leadership Council. She will coordinate the program’s implementation in New York, advising the regional public/private coalitions on meeting P-TECH criteria in their areas.

“Expanding this program is an exciting opportunity for both students and businesses,” said Willner. “By bringing employers into the planning process as full partners along with school districts and community colleges, we know we can create innovative schools that will ensure that students and their families have a secure economic future and drive economic activity in New York’s communities.”

A P-TECH school of grades 9-14 focused on both college and career readiness was launched in Brooklyn, NY in 2011 as a public/private partnership among the New York City Department of Education, the City University of New York, the New York City College of Technology, and the IBM Corporation. The educational model provides high school students with high school curricula, college curricula, and workplace and career training all at once.

More than $4 million in funding was approved in the 2013-2014 New York State Budget to support the formation of 10 new P-TECH schools in each of New York’s economic development regions. Each region’s program will replicate the Brooklyn model and will include a local school district, university campus, and private business or businesses. Each school will create a program where students will earn an associate in applied sciences degree, culminating in students being first in line for new job openings in a high-skill, high-demand STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) field.

The application process for the NYS P-TECH program concluded in late June, and applications are currently being reviewed.