Last week, I had the distinct privilege to visit Newburgh, a city situated on the Hudson River and just a short train ride north of The Big Apple. It was a chance to witness firsthand what everyone has been clamoring about: just what is happening inside a P-TECH classroom?
Otherwise known as Pathways in Technology Early College High School, P-TECH has earned much praise for innovation in education from just about everyone, including President Obama. For me, the question was whether the success of the Brooklyn model could take flight in less populated areas. Could this model work in other communities across the state, particularly in troubled regions? I was determined to find out.
Newburgh has certainly endured its fair share of economic hardship and neglect over the years. Today, however, there is reason to be optimistic. And nowhere else is this optimism more on display than with the enormous transformation taking hold inside of the Newburgh Enlarged City School District.
At Excelsior Academy in Newburgh, the expectations have never been higher and the stakes never greater. This P-TECH school is providing a world-class education to a new generation of young people, preparing them for careers never once imagined. Walking through each of the classrooms with Excelsior’s Principal, Kevin Rothman and Stanley Litow of IBM – the company that invented P-TECH – I saw firsthand the way in which our young people are not just being educated, but actually are thriving.
What makes P-TECH so promising is its collaboration with companies actively participating and searching for a talented workforce. In the case of Excelsior, IBM has been more than an integral partner in its success: it has provided a pathway to success for so many underprivileged children and young adults.
Here in New York, we are taking the P-TECH model to new heights. Last November, under the direction of Governor Cuomo, the New York State P-TECH program announced its Second Round of winners for the New York State P-TECH program. These 10 new winning public-private educational partnerships will span across all across the state: from New York City, to the Finger Lakes, and everywhere in between.
As a result of the Governor’s $3 million dollar investment in the New York State P-TECH program, we now have nearly 10,000 students across the state that will prepare for a high-skill job in technology, manufacturing and healthcare-related fields. Under this curriculum, students will also earn a high school diploma and an associate degree at no cost to their families. In addition, they will be first in line for jobs with participating companies when they graduate.
But most important, the P-TECH model is providing our students with the skills needed to compete in a global economy. And we are doing so with proven results – encouraging real collaboration among the Newburgh Enlarged City School District, SUNY Orange and IBM.
In Latin, the term Excelsior means “ever upward.” In Newburgh, this certainly rings true for our young leaders of tomorrow.
The Honorable Kathy Hochul is Lieutenant Governor of the State of New York.
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