Companies often take an interest in education. Some involve themselves in community outreach efforts, sending employees to teach financial literacy or educate students about careers that demand knowledge of a particular field of study. Others have foundations that provide financial support to school districts.
Recently, a new model of assistance was introduced. Pathways in Technology Early College High Schools (P-Tech) were the brainchild of New York City, City University of New York, and a large technology company. The schools offer a six-year educational program that combines public high school, community college courses, and paid work experience. Students graduate with an associate degree and it doesn’t cost them a penny of tuition.
The first six students graduated from P-Tech – two years early – in June 2015. All received job offers from the technology company. Three accepted and three decided to go on to college. The Economist described one graduate, who opted for employment:
“He applies his programming and technical skills to a digital platform that provides market research to his colleagues. It is a good job: he makes $50,000 a year, has a health-care package, and a pension plan. Mr. Saddler is 18 years old. He earned his high-school diploma last month. A few weeks before finishing school, he also received an associate degree in computer systems technology.”
Experts cited by U.S. News & World Report explained early college high schools help bridge the gap for students from low-income families who sometimes struggle with the transition from high school to college or university.
Since about 30 percent of the companies in the United States cannot fill open positions, P-Tech is an idea that’s gaining traction. More than 70 small and large companies are collaborating with high schools and colleges to promote the concept. Twenty-seven schools have been introduced in New York, Connecticut, and Illinois, to date. Colorado is expected to be the next state to follow suit.