A new way of teaching high school students may be the answer to filling future STEM positions around the state.
The P-TECH program – or Pathways in Technology Early College High School – helps train high school students for the growing science, technology, engineering, and math industries where the demand for highly-trained workers has led to a nationwide "skills gap." Here in Maryland, Baltimore's Carver Vocational Technical High School and Paul Laurence Dunbar High School have adopted the P-TECH model as a way to prepare students for the city's growing need for workers with postsecondary training and skills.
P-TECH was developed and launched in New York City with collaboration between the city's Department of Education, College of Technology, and global tech company IBM. Opened in 2011, the inaugural P-TECH school recently completed its first full six-year curriculum – achieving a graduation rate more than four times the U.S. on-time average for all community college students. Many of the graduates are pursuing four-year degrees, working at IBM, or both. Those in new jobs have roles ranging from digital design to data analytics.
Locally, the P-TECH students take college courses throughout the school year and over the summer at Baltimore City Community College. Once completed, the students will have earned both their high school diploma and an associate's degree in technology. Along the way, each will have benefited from one-on-one mentoring, paid internships, and workplace learning to prepare them for industry.
IBM is partnering with Carver to prepare students for degrees and careers in information technology. "The kids are pumped and very focused," said Don Fenhagen, Senior Location Executive for IBM Baltimore and Central Maryland. "Our focus is showing them that technology is everywhere, no matter what business you look at. Whether it's the Ravens, Under Armour, NASA, DHS, or a global or local tech company, it's there."
Last fall, the Carver students visited Under Armour's headquarters and manufacturing and innovation lab, for a first-hand look at how a global company uses technology on a daily basis. From the company's Make You Famous wall to the #WeWill campaign, much of Under Armour's well-known marketing techniques are technology-based.
Maryland Commerce Secretary Mike Gill also joined the day trip and observed the students' excitement to learn.
"The kids were thrilled to visit a company like Under Armour. You could see the desire to succeed written on their faces," said Secretary Mike Gill. "We want to make sure the next generation is ready for the ever-changing workforce in Maryland, and P-TECH is an excellent way to do that."
The model is currently in 90 schools across the country and – when at full capacity – will serve more than 20,000 students. By the end of this year, P-TECH will be in 100 schools around the world, with an expansion in Maryland.
"Our children in Baltimore have a great opportunity to be on the forefront of industry and technology," said IBM's Fenhagen. "The proximity to the great technology jobs in Maryland and D.C., coupled with the opportunities being offered to our students, have the potential to not only change our students lives and position them for the future, but also help further build Baltimore into a leading edge tech hub fueled by students that come out of programs like P-TECH."
"The jobs of the future will not look as they look today," Fenhagen continued. "Jobs in areas like cybersecurity and artificial intelligence will require new and advanced skills. We're working to provide young people with opportunities to obtain those skills through P-TECH and partnerships with our local community colleges like BCCC and CCBC."
IBM has pledged to invest $1 billion in training and development programs in the U.S. over the next few years, as well as hiring up to 25,000 people through the year 2020. For more information go tohttps://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/51863.wss