IBM helps reinvent high school (and why cities should care)

Tue, 2014-11-25 15:00 -- Liz Enbysk

For cities to be competitive, they need the skilled workforces that businesses today demand. That's the idea behind the innovative Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) model that began in Brooklyn in 2011 is now spreading to nearly 40 schools around the U.S. Council Lead Partner IBM helped establish P-TECH by partnering with the NYC Department of Education, the City University of New York and the New York College of Technology.

And now IBM has introduced a new digital playbook which makes the P-TECH formula publicly available to help more organizations "reinvent" high school to prepare students to enter the workforce with the marketable skills so many employers need.

With more than 30 tools and 15 case studies, the website is designed to help school districts, higher education institutions and businesses establish new P-TECH schools by replicating IBM's public-private partnership education model.

U.S. lags behind
The online playbook comes on the heels of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's announcement that 10 new P-TECH schools are slated to open next fall, with IBM providing the tools, training and support to each participating school.

"It’s no secret that the U.S. lags behind some of our international competitors when it comes to preparing our students for the jobs of tomorrow," said New York State Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr. "But with great partners like IBM, SUNY and all the other corporate and higher ed partners, New York can and will educate our way to the top."

Heather C. Briccetti, President and CEO of the Business Council of New York State, echoed the concerns about schools preparing students for careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). "The business community recognizes that New York’s growing STEM math economy will be stifled if we do not find innovative new ways to help schools better prepare graduates to fill good paying middle-skill jobs and IBM is showing great leadership on this critical issue," she said.

Combining academics and career focus
The six-year P-TECH program combines academic rigor with career focus, where graduates will earn a high school diploma and a no-cost, industry-recognized associate’s degree, and will be first in line for jobs with the employer partner. Students are paired with mentors from the business community and gain practical workplace experience with paid internships.

“The extraordinary replication of the IBM P-TECH model in New York and around the country proves that school and business leaders can create powerful public-private collaborations that will help meet the country’s need for skills,” said Stanley S. Litow, IBM Vice President of Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs and President of the IBM International Foundation. “This new playbook will give principals, schools, and companies a detailed framework to provide our children with the 21st century education they need and deserve.” 

Click for an infographic highlighting the P-TECH model >>

More on the skills gap…
How the ICT skills gap can slam cities (and how to avoid it)
Pending retirements force LA to rethink how to fill its tech jobs