Addressing the skills challenge with P-TECH schools

P - TECH offers a seamless pathway from high school to college completion and career readiness within six years.

In a 2016 IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) survey of more than 5,600 global executives, just 60 percent of US industry executives said they believe new employees recruited in local labor markets have the requisite skills. Only 62 percent said secondary schools are successfully preparing individuals with skills needed to compete upon graduation. Even fewer, 57 percent, said higher education institutions are successful at this task.

The surveyed executives identified technical core capabilities for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) as one of the most critical skill requirements for the workforce.

The Pathways in Technology Early College High Schools (P-TECH) offer a seamless pathway from high school to college completion and career readiness within six years. Their goal is to prepare young people for academic achievement and economic opportunity, regardless of their backgrounds.

At the same time, P-TECH addresses the skills gap and reinvigorates local economies. P-TECH schools are partnerships among private industry, school districts and higher education institutions, with support from government. The schools are free, have no admission requirements and serve students from historically underserved backgrounds.

In 2017, the first cohort of approximately 100 students from P-TECH Brooklyn finished the full six years of the model, with a graduation rate that was four times the on-time national community college rate. IBM, along with many other industry partners, created and provides ongoing curricula support, corporate community engagement, mentoring and thought leadership for P-TECH.

Consider how the world has evolved since agrarian times – yet the structure of high school has remained largely the same. This paper provides more detail about how P-TECH is demonstrating significant scale and promise in a rapidly changing economy.

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Meet the authors

Jennifer Ryan Crozier

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, Vice President, Corporate Citizenship, IBM President, IBM Foundation

Rashid Davis

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, Founding Principal, P-TECH Brooklyn

David Levinson

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, President, Norwalk Community College

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Originally published 01 February 2018