P-TECH: Reflections on a Milestone

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When we launched Brooklyn P-TECH in 2011, we had high hopes – for our students, for the community, for a transformation in education that would restore (and then advance) our mission to serve the next generation. We thought we had the right idea: to connect high school to college and “new collar” careers. And we thought we had the right partners: The City University of New York, New York City College of Technology and IBM. We believed we would succeed, but we had no idea by how much. We say thank you to the first families and students of P-TECH.

Brooklyn P-TECH Graduates

Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy Graduates

Fast-forward to today to witness the culmination of P-TECH’s first full six-year program cycle through which students earn both their high school diploma and a STEM two-year associate degree without the need of remediation. As we congratulate 34 new Brooklyn P-TECH graduates, and 13 from our sibling school – the Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy in Chicago – we reflect on what this momentous occasion means for these ambitious young people, and for a generation that needs our help so they can help us.

Youth unemployment is at its highest level since World War II, despite literally tens of thousands of open positions for skilled workers. The problem is particularly acute among young people of color from low-income families. Despite their talent and tenacity, these young men and women often find themselves caught in a vicious cycle of irrelevant education (often incomplete) and low-wage jobs (when jobs are even available). P-TECH schools combine academic rigor, workplace training, and real-time insights from the business world into a curriculum that prepares graduates for well-paying careers, continued education or both.

Read Profiles of P-TECH’s Latest Graduates

Today’s P-TECH graduates are the latest achievers from a network that has grown to 80 schools in the U.S. and abroad in its first six years – the first full cycle of the grade 9 to 14 program. As has happened before, some graduates finished their “six-year” program in just three-and-a-half years. Students in Brooklyn, Chicago and across the P-TECH network are packing honor rolls, racking up college credits (with no college debt), and making meaningful contributions during paid internships with to our nearly 300 partnering companies. Equally important, P-TECH students are earning their two-year college degrees at a rate that’s four times the on-time national average for community colleges.

We invite you to learn more about these extraordinary young people, and to join us in celebrating their success.

Rashid Ferrod Davis is the Founding Principal of Brooklyn P-TECH.

Related Resources:
CBS Chicago: Chicago High School Lets Students Earn Extra Diploma
IBM-Inspired P-TECH Schools Graduate 100 Teens with College Degrees, Tech Career Skills
P-TECH Graduates Ready for New Collar Jobs
Business Insider: These Schools Are a Nationwide Answer to the Skills Crisis and High Unemployment

Aspen Institute: Work Study and College Affordability: Time for a Closer Look
IBM’s Rometty: We Need to Fill “New Collar” Jobs that Employers Demand
IBM’s Concept of “New Collar Jobs” Could Be Vital in An Automated Future


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