New York’s educational system enters a new era of effectiveness with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s announcement to create 16 new grades 9 – 14 joint high school/community college programs across the state. Each of New York State’s 10 economic development zones will receive at least one new school based on the model that has been so successful with the Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) in New York City and the Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy and other schools in Chicago. These new schools – each a partnership among the Governor’s office, The State University of New York, The New York State Education Department and its school districts, and IBM and a host of other companies – will represent a critical step toward bringing a new world of opportunity to the young people of New York State.
Graduates of the new P-TECH-model schools will receive both a high school diploma and a postsecondary associate degree in technology – preparing them to enter the rapidly expanding “middle skill” job market for people with postsecondary training, though not necessarily a four-year college degree. The curriculum for each school will be developed in collaboration with that school’s corporate partner. This unique combination of academic rigor and career focus has captured the attention of educators, employers and legislators across the U.S. – including President Obama, who called for more schools like P-TECH
in his State of the Union address; the City of Chicago, which opened five P-TECH-model schools last September; and New York City, which just announced plans to open five
In addition to IBM, corporate partners such as SAP, Wegmans Food Markets and Global Foundries will help prepare young people for careers in industries across the state of New York. With 300,000 unfilled positions in New York City alone (100,000 of them in the professional, scientific and technical services sectors), it is imperative that educators and employers work together to eliminate the mismatch of skills that leads to unemployment. The U.S. Labor Department estimates that 14 million new middle skills jobs will be created over the next 10 years, and graduates of IBM’s P-TECH-model schools will be first in line for jobs with our company.
This is an exciting time for American education and for the children, families and communities of New York State. Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New York is spearheading the national effort to reinvent high schools, join the P-TECH revolution, and prepare our young people for fulfilling and productive futures.
Stanley S. Litow is IBM’s Vice President of Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs, President of the IBM International Foundation, and a former Deputy Chancellor of the
New York City Public Schools.