P-TECH 2019: Paving new paths in education

By | 2 minute read | December 19, 2019

As 2019 comes to a close, I want to thank all the education and industry partners, and IBMers for their energy and dedication to preparing our youth, through P-TECH, for the future of work.

When we started this initiative back in 2011 in collaboration with industry partners and educators in the public education system, our goal was to prepare young people for the emerging skills gap and inequities in access that could potentially arise from an economy driven by AI and automation. Nine years later we are gratified by the impact we have had in opening up new education and employment opportunities for thousands of students.

It is clear the P-TECH model is delivering new value for governments, employers, parents and students around the world.  Today we have 220+ schools in 24 countries, serving 125,000 students.  Fourteen of those countries came on board just this year, making 2019 our largest in terms of global expansion and graduations.

It is great to see P-TECH roll out to country after country, and to experience the power of partnership as this movement grows.  We now have approximately 600 industry partners who are helping to train students for jobs in their industries through workplace learning and mentorship  Their contributions are making a difference in so many local communities.

I am honored IBM is doing its part. This summer, IBMers stepped up to host 180 P-TECH internships projects each requiring host managers, dedicated mentors, and teams to nurture and challenge students with meaningful work. The growth we see in P-TECH students after each summer internship cycle is remarkable and demonstrates the power of community in a student’s life.

Yet, ultimately, it has been most exciting to see P-TECH students redefining what’s possible when provided with early access to the technical and professional skills for the modern economy. Hundreds of students have already graduated from P-TECH. These schools boast on-time Associates Degree  graduation rates up to four times better than the average.

What P-TECH has taught me is that there is no singular path to career success anymore.  Our economy is marked by change and disruption, forcing us to be constant learners with the flexibility to discover and explore as the environment changes.

According to a recent IBM Institute of Business Value study, in the next three years, as many as 120 million workers in the world’s 12 largest economies may need to be retrained or reskilled as a result of AI and intelligent automation.

We, therefore, must contribute to engaging today’s youth and preparing students to succeed in an everchanging landscape.  The time P-TECH students spend at IBM, working with IBMers and engaging with mentors contributes significantly to their preparedness for success in this new economy.

Many thanks to all who opened yourselves up to new possibilities in education with P-TECH in 2019.  We look forward to continuing to build the future together in 2020.


P-TECH, an innovative school model, connects secondary schools, colleges, and industries giving students a seamless pathway to college and career. The model integrates high school and college coursework, enabling students to earn a no-cost Associates degree in a range of STEM fields, including IT, advanced manufacturing, healthcare and finance.  In addition, P-TECH ensures readiness for the workplace through mentorships, site visits and paid internships provided by industry partners.