- Skyline High School in Longmont, CO, opened the latest Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) program this school year, offering a 50-student cohort the chance to graduate from high school with an associate degree in hand.
- The Daily Camera reports IBM and Front Range Community College are the partners for the program, which will give students six years to complete high school and community college degree requirements, do internships, and get mentored on their way to a degree in computer information systems.
- The Colorado legislature set aside funding for the program in its Ready to Work package so students will not have additional expenses, and in addition to the program at Skyline High, a similar P-TECH program also opened this year at Falcon School District 49 near Colorado Springs.
As K-12 schools commit to preparing students for college and career, P-TECH is increasingly being seen as a program that does just that. The original P-TECH opened in Brooklyn in 2011 and has now spread to 60 schools nationwide. It capitalizes on the idea that public education needs to prepare students with more than a high school degree. In line with the push for free community college, this program allows students to leave the relative safety and protection of high school with an associate degree.
Whether they go on to a four-year program or not, they have a leg up in the workforce. Importantly P-TECH programs always have industry partners that are primed to hire their graduates. While an associate degree may not open as many career doors as bachelor's or an advanced degree, graduates who can get quick work experience have a solid pitch for future employers and could negotiate to have these employers sponsor continuing education.