During his State of The Union address, President Obama openly praised the collaboration between P-Tech (Pathways in Technology), New York City schools, IBM, and the City University of New York. The President stated ““We need to give every American student opportunities like this.” So, what exactly is P-Tech?
P-Tech is a unique model of education that deviates from the normal in several ways. First, the P-Tech school system works with private sector businesses to determine what skill sets are needed now and projections for the future; then they build a program to fulfill that need. Secondly, IBM has indicated that when the first P-Tech class graduates in 2017 that it may have positions open and ready for them. Several areas, including Chicago and New York, have started five similar schools, and a slightly different version is being set up in Idaho.
Basically, students will go through grades 9-14 (freshman in high school-two years after) and will graduate with an associate degree in applied science (AAS) in computer systems technology or electromechanical engineering technology. Students are not required to complete all six years, and have the option to leave after the 12th grade to attend a four year bachelors program-all that is needed is approval from their guidance counselor.
Many of the hindrances that prohibits young adults from getting a post high school education are removed in the P-Tech model. All tuition, books, and other fees that can amount to thousands of dollars per year are provided at zero cost to the students.