BROOKLYN, N.Y., Jan. 5, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, IBM (NYSE: IBM) announced that P-TECH, the IBM-inspired six-year education model that is leading a national wave of career-focused technical education in nearly 60 schools across six states, 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. Some of their stories can be found here.
P-TECH schools combine high school with a clear pathway to a community college degree, coupling strong academic rigor with workplace skills. IBM is committed to work 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, with added expansion in the coming years. 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 new economy requires us to equip our nation's students, with skills to succeed in college and new collar jobs, regardless of their income or zip code," said Stanley S. Litow, IBM Vice President of Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs and President of the IBM Foundation. "P-TECH's extraordinary early achievers who have already earned their associate degrees ahead of schedule, quite simply break the mold. We are committed to grow P-TECH to address the nation's skills crisis and prepare youth for new collar careers. Nothing is more critical to our nation's economic success." "Our early graduates and young IBM hires show that American STEM talent can be achieved, pointing the way to what is possible," said Rashid F. Davis, P-TECH Founding Principal. "Providing equal opportunity to underserved youth in our community is what success looks like. Starting here in Brooklyn, this model has taken off around the country, helping struggling students live up to their full potential and helping recharge economies." 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, 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. P-TECH Brooklyn has achieved graduation rates that significantly surpass national community college completion rates, with 35% of students from the first P-TECH class in 2011 graduating one to two years ahead of schedule with both their high school diplomas and two-year college degrees. This contrasts with national data showing that only 20% of U.S. students complete a two-year community college degree in three years, after a four-year high school program. In addition to high student achievement, strong teacher support is evidenced by the school's 99% teacher attendance rate, tied for second highest among all New York City high schools. Some of these graduates take jobs with IBM, mostly in "new collar" positions, in areas ranging from digital design to data analytics, while others pursue their bachelor's degrees.