Last night, Governor Gina M. Raimondo and the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation Board of Directors approved three school districts to host the state's new Pathways in Technology Early College High School program (P-TECH). These initial programs will focus on the key growth industries of information technology, advanced manufacturing, and cybersecurity.
The Newport Public School District, Providence Public School District, and Westerly Public School District will each receive a $200,000 grant to implement the P-TECH program within their local high schools with an enrollment of 50 to 100 students.
Rhode Island schools will model the nationally recognized success of IBM's P-TECH model, which creates partnerships among high schools, colleges, and employers, enabling students to earn associate's degrees and obtain first-in-line opportunities for jobs in Rhode Island. The model helps young people to be college and career-ready with STEM skills – disciplines that underpin some of the fastest growing industries in the U.S.
"The number one thing employers tell me they are looking for when choosing where to start or grow a business is a pipeline of talent," said Raimondo. "With the launch of these three P-TECH schools, we are reimagining the high school experience to prepare students with the skills they need for these high-wage, high-skills jobs. I want to thank the Providence, Newport, and Westerly schools districts for applying to host this program, and I want to commend, in advance, the students and parents who choose to participate. I hope to build on this launch with programs at even more schools to ensure every student has the opportunity to succeed in the 21st-century workforce."
"Improving the Rhode Island economy requires strengthening workforce development and meeting the talent needs of employers," said Rhode Island Secretary of Commerce Stefan Pryor. "Through the initiatives announced today, young people will have access to new pathways to college-level training, internships and careers in Rhode Island, and employers will have new pipelines of talent to draw upon. I want to acknowledge the individual companies that, in addition to our industry association partners, have made an early commitment to participate in P-TECH including Atrion, FM Global, and Secure Future Tech for the IT program; Naval Undersea Warfare Center, Raytheon, Progeny Systems, Purvis Systems, and Mikel for the cybersecurity program; and Electric Boat and VIBCO, Inc. for the manufacturing program. We look forward to recognizing additional companies that respond to the Governor's call in the New Year. "
"I thank Governor Raimondo and the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation for their tireless efforts to bring this innovative transformation of high school to Rhode Island," said Stanley S. Litow, IBM Vice President of Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs and President of the IBM International Foundation. "Education is key to America's economic growth and competitiveness, and clearly, a high school diploma is no longer enough. We devised P-TECH to address the nation's skills crisis, and to do so for all students, and it is already fulfilling its promise by increasing college completion rates and seeing its graduates obtain high-wage jobs. We're committed to helping grow P-TECH, and helping Rhode Island youth secure a meaningful future."
"Rhode Island families are eager for schools, courses, and career-technical programs that prepare their children for college, careers, the workforce, and life. To meet this goal we are developing career programs, such as the P-TECH initiative, that align with the growth areas in the Rhode Island economy and the workforce needs of Rhode Island companies. Students participating in the P-TECH initiative will earn a high-school diploma, an associate's degree, and career opportunities in a challenging and rewarding field," said Ken Wagner, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education.
P-TECH schools create education and employer partnerships for grades 9-14 to create a clear pathway from high school to college to career. The program is designed to move groups of entering freshman through four, five or six years of curriculum and mentorship, with an associate's degree and potential job opportunities are waiting at the end. For Rhode Island's large employers, and clusters of employers, these partnerships create a steady stream of talented, trained workers. For young people in the state, these partnerships mean opportunity.
"Since we are in the state's capital and hub for business, the Providence Public School District is well-positioned to take full advantage of its selection as the location for one of the first P-TECH programs. This program aligns well with our desire to increase dual enrollment opportunities for our students," said Interim Superintendent Christopher Maher. "A robust IT pathway, developed in partnership with CCRI, the Tech Collective, their members and other IT related businesses, will transform the trajectory for Providence students and provide them with the skills they need to continue their education and to meet the changing needs of the IT industry."
"Newport is thrilled to be chosen as one of the initial P-TECH schools and to have the opportunity to partner with CCRI and the Southeastern New England Defense Industry Alliance (SENEDIA) to help prepare our students for careers and further education opportunities," said Superintendent Colleen Jermain. "We're excited that Newport's P-TECH program will be focused on cybersecurity, in part, growing from the work of Governor Raimondo's Cybersecurity Commission, which identified the deep and growing need for a robust pipeline of future employees."
"Westerly is pleased at the prospect of partnering with the Rhode Island Manufacturer's Association and CCRI to create programming that will equip our students with the education and skills they need for the jobs of the future," said Superintendent Roy Seitsinger. "P-TECH is consistent with our district strategy of instructional pathway development. As home to one of the first three P-TECH programs in Rhode Island, Westerly students will be able to take full advantage of the exciting developments in this area including CCRI's new satellite campus, devoted in large part to manufacturing."
The school districts were chosen through a series of criteria with input from Rhode Island employers and the participating industry associations – Tech Collective, Rhode Island Manufacturer's Association (RIMA) and Southeastern New England Defense Industry Alliance (SENEDIA). The schools needed to be able to implement the program by fall of 2016, commit to all the requirements of the program, and to be in coordination with one or more of the Community College of Rhode Island campuses and related industry activity.
For more information on P-TECH, visit www.ptech.org. This is a free website, developed by IBM, to help school districts, higher education institutions, and businesses expand IBM's public-private partnership education model.