A cutting-edge educational program that will train high school students for careers in the technology field while they earn a college degree will debut on Long Island in the fall of 2014, according to an agreement announced today at Longwood High School by Congressman Tim Bishop and officials at Longwood School District, Suffolk County Community College (SCCC), Eastern Suffolk BOCES, and CA Technologies.
The Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) partnership at Longwood will give approximately 20-25 students each year the opportunity to graduate with both a high school diploma and a college-level associate degree in a technology field--at no additional cost to the student or their family. Students will receive specialized training through mentorships with CA Technologies that will prepare them for well-paying, high-potential jobs in the IT industry.
In praising the P-TECH model in his 2013 State of the Union address, President Obama called upon the nation to "give every American student opportunities like this." Following the speech, Congressman Bishop began spearheading the effort to bring P-TECH to Long Island, identifying potential stakeholders and helping to forge the agreement in principle announced today. A former senior college administrator, Bishop is recognized as a leading expert on higher education policy in the House of Representatives and has served on the Higher Education and Workforce Training Subcommittee of the US House of Representatives since he entered Congress in 2003.
Education policy experts from Longwood, Eastern Suffolk BOCES and SCCC will design a curriculum in consultation with CA Technologies to prepare students for entry-level job requirements at technology firms, with CA Technologies employees serving as mentors for the students. Participants in the P-TECH program at Longwood will graduate with, in effect, a six-year apprenticeship that will prepare them to compete strongly for appropriate vacancies that match their skills at CA Technologies or other tech firms.
The program at Longwood will be the first on Long Island to utilize the P-TECH model: a grade 9 through 14 integrated program designed to connect education to jobs through mentorships and education in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) and workplace skills. P-TECH was established in Brooklyn in 2011 and has since expanded to several other schools in New York City and Chicago.
The P-TECH program at Longwood will compete for a share of approximately $4 million in grant funding designated by New York State in Governor Cuomo's 2013-2014 Executive Budget to jumpstart creation of programs statewide. Bishop said that the program at Longwood, once proven successful, could be replicated at other school districts.
"We must prepare our young people to meet the demands of the global economy, and the simultaneous specialized instruction and job-skills development P-TECH offers is a fast track for students to obtain a college degree and secure a rewarding, exciting career," said Congressman Bishop. "I thank all the stakeholders for their enthusiastic partnership to expand opportunities and open new doors to success for Long Island students."
"In the current economic climate and era of the tax levy cap, schools must think very differently about how and what programs we provide to our students. This partnership will offer students life-changing opportunities that we could never replicate on our own," Dr. Michael R. Lonergan, Longwood Superintendent of Schools.
"Our track record in economic and workforce development, our successful STEM programs and our reputation for excellence as a teaching and learning institution, will enable us to play a meaningful role in the design and development of this program," said Dr. Shaun L. McKay, President of Suffolk County Community College. We look forward to working with our partners, our elected officials and business and industry representatives to launch and expand the PTECH program. We believe this program will meet an emerging need on Long Island, as well as bolster the economic sustainability of Suffolk County and the educational advancement of County residents."
"Our active role in this STEM-based initiative is to provide our expertise to ensure that this program complies with New York State requirements as well as to coordinate the roles and responsibilities of our local business, higher education and school district partners," said Gary Bixhorn, Chief Operating Officer at Eastern Suffolk BOCES. "The goal is to create a model to expand the P-Tech program to other districts throughout the region."
"We are pleased to be joining forces with Congressman Bishop, Longwood High School, Eastern Suffolk BOCES and Suffolk County Community College on this important initiative," said Erica Christensen, Senior Director, Community Affairs, CA Technologies. "Building expertise and excitement for STEM learning is a top priority for CA Technologies. We want to help make sure that all young people have the tools they need to succeed, and that these youngsters, who are part of a generation defined and enabled by technology, know there is a place for them in this field."