Giving Compass' Take:

• Frederick Hess reports that P-TECH schools are part of the IBM Foundation program school model that combines high school, community college, and workplace learning into the curriculum to prepare students for the future workforce. 

• How can funders support partnerships between schools and employers to improve education? 

Read about Teacher Advisor With Watson: a teacher toolkit developed by the IBM Foundation and the National Center for Learning Disabilities  

As President of the IBM Foundation, Jennifer Ryan Crozier oversees IBM P-TECH, a grades 9-to-14 school model that seeks to integrate high school with community college and workplace learning. P-TECH graduates earn both a high school diploma and an associate degree in a STEM field within six years—and some in less than four years.

Since its 2011 launch with a single school in Brooklyn, New York, the P-TECH network has scaled to 110 schools across eight states, as well as Australia, Morocco, and Taiwan. Jen and I spoke recently about P-TECH schools, preparing young people for 21st century jobs, and the challenges of this work.

Rick Hess: So, Jen, how do you explain P-TECH to someone who’s not familiar with it?

Jen Crozier: P-TECH started as a way to connect high school to college and career. Even with today’s high employment rates, employers like IBM have tens of thousands of positions we can’t fill because people lack the necessary skills. That’s why we started P-TECH in partnership with New York City Schools and The City University of New York, and why each P-TECH school is a similar partnership with school districts and community colleges.

RH: What’s the big idea here?

JC: The big idea is to give all students, especially the underserved, a seamless pathway to competitive STEM careers. By doing so, we raise community college graduation rates, provide opportunities to enter the middle class, and strengthen the overall economy—which benefits all of us.

RH: What outcomes are you seeing?

JC: The graduation rate for the first cohort of P-TECH students—from the pilot school in Brooklyn—is more than four times the national on-time community college graduation rate, which persists at 13 percent, and five times the rate for students from low-income families.

Read the full article about P-TECH schools by Frederick Hess at Education Next.