education model eyes technology -->
Nov. 05--ALBANY -- It's described as "grades nine through 14," and a "ticket into the middle class," but the Pathways in Technology Early College High Schools, or P-Tech, could benefit businesses and the economy as much as the students who complete its six-year program of academic, technical and workplace mastery.
Ten days after President Barack Obama visited the IBM-supported prototype in Brooklyn, educators, business and government officials gathered at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering in Albany to figure out how to spread the model statewide.
"This meeting proved that businesses and school leaders can create powerful public/private collaborations that will help meet the state's need for skills," said Stanley S. Litow, IBM vice president of corporate citizenship and corporate affairs and president of the IBM Foundation.
How would it work? Starting with the ninth grade, a rigorous six-year program would focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics courses. Mentors would support the students as they progress through the courses. After successful completion, they would have both a high school diploma and a cost-free associate's degree -- "it is their ticket into the middle class," one speaker said -- and a spot at the head of the line for jobs with dozens of technology companies and other employers.
In addition to IBM, GlobalFoundries, Cisco, GE Healthcare, Wegmans, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Microsoft and dozens of other companies have committed to hiring the graduates.
"From the minute students walk into ninth grade next September, they're going to college," said Robin Willner of the P-Tech Leadership Council, who moderated the morning programs.
Locally, Troy and Ballston Spa school districts are preparing to participate in the program.
"When our students are prepared for high-skill jobs," said Willner, "we'll attract businesses, we'll grow businesses."
"This building," said Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy, "is a furnace for job creation. You walk into this building and you see the brainpower we have.
"P-Tech is here to take full advantage of what we have now."
Sixteen winners statewide were named in August by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to form public-private sponsorships. In the Capital Region, the three winners and the partners involved were:
Manufacturing: GlobalFoundries, SUNY Adirondack, Washington-Saratoga-Warren-Hamilton-Essex BOCES, and Hudson Falls School District;
Clean Technologies: GlobalFoundries, Cisco, TRC, Hudson Valley Community College, Ballston Spa School District;
Advanced Manufacturing: Center for Economic Growth, GE Healthcare, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, HVCC, Questar III BOCES and City School District of Troy.
P-Tech "will better prepare students for the workforce of the future," said F. Michael Tucker, president and CEO of the Albany-based Center for Economic Growth, a regional economic development organization. "Certainly the companies we work with in manufacturing and technology have concerns about the trained technical workforce."
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