The future of education & jobs: P-TECH in Brooklyn

Friday, October the 25th President Obama visits P-TECH, the experimental school in Brooklyn: a great example of collaboration between the private & public system in education. IBM sponsors it and the City of New York supports it. The successful experiment is about to be replicated in other cities. Here is how we described it in Tech and the City’s Chapter 7 “The Do-It-Yourself Revolution – Brooklyn”:

<<In the fall of 2011 another experiment in the field of education and cooperation between the public and private sectors began in Crown Heights. It is also an attempt to address the demand for talented technical people from New York startups. Called Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P- TECH), it is a kind of super-high-school that lasts for six years instead of the traditional four and grants a double diploma: the regular high school diploma and an associate degree in computer science. P-TECH is a public school run by the city of New York, City University of New York (CUNY), and IBM, which came up with the idea and donated $500,000 in software and computers while making its technical experts available as mentors to the over 100 students. The last two years are the most intense as they include company internships and professional training. Those who get their degrees after six years have a good chance at finding jobs at IBM or another company, or they can use the extra two years for college credits. This program is the first of its kind in the U.S. and IBM would like to export it to other cities, particularly in areas where unemployment is really high, such as Crown Heights itself. Initial results have been promising, with 100 students enrolled, most of them from the less well-off families in the area.>>

Now it has 300 students, “nearly 100% of whom are black or Latino”, reports James Ford for “Some of the first 100 students was reading at elementary school levels when they first entered 9th grade in the fall of 2011. Now, 87% of that class has completed at least one college course. (…) ‘Beginning next summer,’ said Grace Suh of IBM, ‘we’ll have about 75 students…in paid internships.’ Note that key word:  paid. She said that the students will be doing substantial work at IBM facilities, and will be compensated for it during the summers. And then, according to Suh, ‘When students graduate successfully, they’ll be first in line for jobs at IBM.’ It’s a commitment that the company made with the city as part of the school’s creation.”

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