Riverfront P-Tech – a consortium of Troy City Schools, Questar III BOCES, Hudson Valley Community College, Center for Economic Growth (CEG), GE Healthcare and Regeneron – was one of 16 winners of a statewide competition that will help prepare high school students for high-skill jobs in technology, manufacturing and healthcare.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced winners of the state’s Pathways in Technology Early College High School (NYS P-TECH) program on August 28. The regional consortium, led by Troy CSD and Questar III, asked for $2.4 million in aid over a seven-year period.
Pending approval of the consortium’s budget, Riverfront P-Tech will spend the 2013-14 school year recruiting students, building partnerships and training teachers and principals, and will enroll its first class of students in September 2014. It will also build skill inventories with industry to guide curriculum.
About 300 students are expected to participate in the new Riverfront P-Tech program over the next seven years, with a cohort of 30 students entering in years one and two and 60 students entering in each subsequent year of the grant.
As part of the program, students will earn a high school diploma and associate degree at no cost to their families. They will also be first in line for jobs with participating companies when they graduate.
All Riverfront P-Tech students will begin earning college credit from Hudson Valley Community College starting in grade 10. Students will also have the opportunity to obtain Six Sigma Yellow Belt Certification, a recognized industry credential in lean manufacturing.
The program will build in additional academic support beyond the normal school day. Prior to entering the program, students will also attend Tech Valley Summer Camp, a longstanding camp sponsored by Questar III, Tech Valley Career Pathways Consortium and local employers that introduces students to biotechnology and advanced manufacturing careers. The camp was a precursor to Tech Valley High School, a collaboration with Capital Region BOCES.
Questar III District Superintendent James N. Baldwin said the P-Tech partnership builds upon the success of Tech Valley High School, BOCES career and technical education programs and the Tech Valley Career Pathways Consortium – a group of BOCES, community colleges and businesses that have worked together over the past four years.
“I’m pleased the Governor’s Office has recognized the potential of our regional partnerships and efforts to redesign public education. Questar III is pleased to support the Troy City School District and its efforts to provide students with another option within their public school system,” Baldwin said.
Hudson Valley Community College President Andrew J. Matonak said he looks forward to leveraging resources to give more local students the opportunity to earn associate’s degrees.
“Hudson Valley Community College is proud to be a partner in this collaborative effort to create an educational pipeline from high school to college and work for students in Troy schools, students in our own backyard. It is an unbelievable opportunity for high school students to earn a marketable associate degree during their high school years and to look forward to the job opportunities that degree will open in technology or manufacturing for them. It is yet another example of how we serve a vital part of Rensselaer County,” Matonak said.
Troy CSD Superintendent John Carmello said this partnership will help his district prepare more students for a successful future.
“This is exciting news for the Troy City School District. The P-Tech program will help us with our mission of graduating all students college and career ready. I look forward to working with our partners in this endeavor,” Carmello said.
As part of the Riverfront P-Tech, CEG, GE Health Care and Regeneron will also support the development and operation of the program.
Jeffrey Lawrence, Executive Vice President of CEG, said his organization “will facilitate connections between Riverfront P-Tech and local industry partners, particularly those affiliated with the Chief Executives Network (CEN), to recruit mentors and provide work-based learning opportunities for students.”
Tom Feist, General Manager of Global X-ray Detection at GE Healthcare, said, “We look forward to welcoming students to our high tech manufacturing facility at the Rensselaer Technology Park. Our staff has been very active in working with educators to align curriculum with industry needs and we’re excited to grow the advanced manufacturing talent pipeline right here in the Capital District.”
“Regeneron is a growing biotech company, and we rely on the central role advancing science education plays in developing a robust pipeline of students to compete and excel in Tech Valley’s industries. We are delighted to be part of the P-Tech collaboration, and to offer students a first-hand look at biotech through a number of career awareness activities,” said Kristin Pasquarelli, Human Resources Supervisor at Regeneron.
NYS P-TECH was announced in January as part of the Governor’s 2013-2014 Executive Budget. The public-private initiative was launched in partnership with IBM, which helped create the P-TECH program and will provide tools, training and support to each NYS P-TECH school. It will receive additional funding and support through the State Education Department.
According to the governor’s press release, the winning partnerships were selected through a highly competitive process and represent leading industries in each of the state’s 10 Regional Economic Development Council areas.
Cuomo said “linking our secondary and higher education institutions to the economic development of the region is a logical connection that will greatly improve our work force and help students find jobs directly out of college.”