IBM (NYSE: IBM) announced Thursday that P-TECH, an IBM-inspired six-year education model, has already graduated more than 50 students, including a new class of 16 graduates in January.
All of these graduates completed the six-year curriculum ahead of schedule, earning both their high school and two-year college tech degrees, with some finishing in as little as 3.5 years.
According to IBM, the P-TECH schools combine high school with a clear pathway to a community college degree, coupling academic rigor with workplace skills.
IBM is working with educators and businesses to create an additional 20 schools in the U.S. within the next year, growing the number of schools in the P-TECH network to 80 by 2017. There are currently over 250 businesses partnering with P-TECH schools serving thousands of students.
The IBM-inspired P-TECH schools are designed to open new pathways to better prepare young people for college and for “new collar” careers in the United States – skilled positions that don’t always require four-year college degrees.
The schools make it easier to cultivate the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills that underpin some of the nation’s fastest growing industries and new collar careers.
The first P-TECH school in Brooklyn launched in 2011 as a public-private partnership among IBM, the New York City Department of Education, and the City University of New York. Within six years or less, according to IBM, students can earn both their high school and two-year college degrees in a STEM field.
The academic curriculum is aligned to skills that employers are looking for. P-TECH students are paired with business mentors, gain practical workplace experience with paid internships and workplace visits, and successful graduates are first in line for available jobs.
IBM, together with many P-TECH schools and the City University of New York, created a website, making publicly available the formula, tools, and case studies to help other school districts, colleges, universities, and businesses establish new P-TECH schools across the nation.
Photo courtesy: IBM