A High School Degree

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.

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