P-TECH Programs Give Students a Head Start in College, Career Readiness
Published on 1/2/19
District News Henninger High School ITC PSLA @ Fowler
What is P-TECH?
Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) is a program that creates individual pathways for students to simultaneously obtain their high school diploma, earn an Associate’s degree and obtain workplace learning experience. The program is designed to motivate and enable students to earn a college degree and successfully transition into the workplace, armed with the preparation and skills needed by employers.
Six P-TECH programs are currently offered in the Syracuse City School District: Electrical Technology or Mechanical Technology at ITC; Clinical Laboratory Technician (CLT) or Health Information Technology (HIT) at Henninger; and Computer Information Systems (CIS) or Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems at PSLA at Fowler (RPAS).
Why choose P-TECH?
Henninger P-TECH Coordinator Ella Briand said the biggest asset of the school’s P-TECH programs are their partnerships with professionals and colleges, which sets the P-TECH program apart from traditional high school programs.
“Our Health P-TECH programs are unique in that they give students who successfully complete the program a choice in a wide open, lucrative career market,” Ms. Briand said. “The jobs in Health Information Management/Technology and Clinical Laboratory Technology are both essential to departments in every medical facility or network. Henninger High School has state of the art equipment and highly qualified teachers to prepare students for these jobs, and our medical industry partners are looking forward to hiring them.”
At ITC, P-TECH students work with career coaches from local business partners on a monthly basis. They take field trips to local manufacturing facilities, and they develop college and career portfolios, which are updated as they progress through the program. Over the summer, freshmen attend a summer bridge program that prepares students for the upcoming year; while sophomores have the opportunity to engage in a workplace challenge, helping local manufacturing company DARCO solve a real life problem, in conjunction with Syracuse University engineering students.
PSLA at Fowler P-TECH Coordinator Matt Caron said P-TECH students in his school’s programs have an advantage because of their exposure to real world technology developments.
“We have a Drone Corridor in the Rome area – one of just 5-7 nationwide,” Mr. Caron explained. “That makes our program more credible. The state is putting so much money into that field – which makes a real connection between our students’ classroom learning, their career coaching and the jobs that are out there. Employers need people who really understand and are familiar with the emerging technologies, and our P-TECH students in RPAS and CIS are trained as local experts. Our school is entirely a CTE school, and P-TECH is a fast track to helping our students figure out what they want to do. These students get exposure to real industry professionals, rather than textbook information and teachers. They really get an honest look at what a career could look like.”
Who should enroll in P-TECH?
According to current P-TECH students, if you have an interest in getting a head start in college or a particular career, and if you are hardworking, determined and responsible, a P-TECH program may be the right path for you!
“I have always wanted to be in the medical field, but I didn’t know how or where to get started,” Rosel Ali Alfahdawe, a junior Clinical Laboratory Technology student at Henninger, said. “I enrolled in CLT because it was a valuable opportunity, and I’m so glad I’m a CLT student. The program has built my confidence to challenge myself and to do my best to be successful. I have gained great study skills, relationships with people in the community and the experience of college – while in high school!”
Rosel said the program has allowed her to step into the medical field and feel as if she is first in line for a career. “I could be a licensed 19-year-old with a career in a lab,” she said.
Dominque Freelon, a freshman in the PSLA at Fowler Computer Information Systems program, said she is using the program to help her see if a potential career in technology could be in her future.
“I like technology and I look forward to learning about coding. I might like to work in technology one day, and the P-TECH program allows me to get to meet real professionals in the field and learn how they think and how they work,” she said.
For Garnet Grimm, a senior in the Electrical Engineering program at ITC, his program of study served as a way to help give him the background knowledge he will need to study computer engineering in college.
“I got interested in programming in middle school, which is why I decided to enter the P-TECH program,” he said. “Through the program, I’ve gained a deeper understanding of software. I’ve even designed and printed parts with a 3D printer, which has helped me learn more on the mechanical engineering side as well. I plan to study computer engineering in college, so these electrical skills I’ve learned will help set me ahead.”
Garnet noted that even for students who don’t plan to spend additional time attending college before seeking employment, P-TECH provides the opportunity to earn a college degree and build a professional network before jumping into the business world.
How will P-TECH set you ahead?
All of the P-TECH programs in the Syracuse City School District are intended to help give students a head start when it comes to college and career readiness.
“One of the major selling points of the CLT P-TECH program is that our students have their Associate’s degree paid for 100 percent,” Henninger Clinical Laboratory Technology instructor Janet Clark said. “Our students will have a job waiting for them anywhere in CNY – or anywhere in the country – because these jobs are in high demand! Clinical Laboratory Technicians are a major player on healthcare teams, as 70 percent of every diagnosis is based on some type of lab test. This means that one of our graduates may potentially play a major part in the treatment and diagnosis of patients in our community.”
While SCSD P-TECH programs all boast valuable business partnerships, each also offers students unique advantages.
“No matter what job our students end up pursuing, technology will be a part of it,” PSLA at Fowler Computer Information Systems instructor Theresa Voltz said. “There’s no losing if you’re in a P-TECH program… you’ll automatically have an advantage. Students in the CIS program will get a taste of everything – coding, networking, drones, cybersecurity, computer forensics… they’ll be exposed to a little bit of everything!”
ITC P-TECH teacher Chris Nolan said students’ exposure to business ideas and techniques is one of the biggest assets of the ITC P-TECH programs.
“We are one of only two school districts in the area that has an actual machining shop,” he explained. “We have lathe and mill machines – they are very expensive – which allow students to learn about machining, metal work, measurements and the fundamentals of engineering. These are the same machines that local businesses use, so the experience really sets them up for success not only in the distant future but also more immediately in terms of apprenticeship opportunities.”
P-TECH instructors at ITC noted that former graduates of the program have enjoyed the opportunity to continue working with the companies they worked with in high school – even while pursuing a college degree. At least one student from the Mechanical Engineering P-TECH program interned at Dupli Graphics in high school and upon graduating from high school, accepted a full-time job!
To learn more about the P-TECH programs offered in the Syracuse City School District, visit syracusecityschools.com/CTE.
You can also learn more about the P-TECH program through students' points of view by reading a P-TECH Profile on former ITC student William DeJesus and a feature on the Electrical Technology program.