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For Release — May 19, 2014

Business leaders warn middle skills job gap is growing
NY State P-TECH program will help narrow the divide

ALBANY, NY, May 19, 2014 -Businesses in New York state are projected to create one million jobs that require more education than a high school diploma but not a four-year college degree between 2008 and 2018, according to data compiled by Jobs for the Future and The Business Council of New York State.

Referred by the Brookings Institute as “the hidden STEM economy,” middle-skill jobs will make up 39 percent — the largest portion—of all jobs in New York state by 2018. Jobs requiring a four-year college degree will comprise 34 percent of the workforce while low-skill jobs, those requiring a high school diploma or less, will make up the remaining 27 percent of the workforce.

The data also shows that this gap will continue to widen as the supply of recent graduates prepared for these jobs is projected to decline by 2025.

“The business community recognizes the urgency in closing the middle skills gap, and that jobs in the STEM field play a major role in driving the state's economy. This data shows that New York's growing STEM economy will be stifled if we do not find innovative new ways to help schools better prepare graduates to fill good paying middle-skill jobs. This is among the reasons why the Business Council strongly supports the Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) model pioneered by IBM ,” said Heather C. Briccetti, Esq., president and CEO of The Business Council. "In six years, we will have the first wave of thousands of new graduates from P-TECH schools across the state and a constant pipeline thereafter to fill these jobs."

P-TECH schools are innovative public schools spanning grades 9 to 14 that bring together the best elements of high school, college, and career. Within a six-year, structured, and integrated time frame, students graduate with a high school diploma and a no-cost associates degree, along with the skills and knowledge they need to continue their studies or step seamlessly into well paying, high potential jobs in their communities. The first P-TECH school created by IBM and partners opened in Brooklyn in 2011, and the model has expanded to more schools in New York City, Chicago and Connecticut. Last year, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo created the nation's first statewide P-TECH program at 16 locations around the state as a way to help close the middle skills gap. Additionally, the state Legislature has approved $5 million to support a second cohort of P-TECH schools across the state.

"These numbers show that P-TECH is coming to New York State at exactly the right time," said IBM Vice President of Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs and President, IBM Foundation Stanley S. Litow. "Clearly, preparing students for 21st century careers cannot and should not be the sole responsibility of schools. A fully prepared workforce requires that educators and employers work together, each contributing its specific expertise to guarantee that the next generation of workers is college and career ready. IBM initiated the P-TECH model because a high school diploma isn't enough. If New York State and our entire country is to remain competitive, we must transform education by directly linking high school and college to real jobs in communities."

The 16 P-TECH high schools will hold summer sessions in July, when students will be introduced to each other and gain a head start on project-based learning and other key elements of the P-TECH model. The new schools will officially open in September. In the meantime, representatives of the 16 schools will meet on Wednesday, May 21 at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering in Albany review their progress. State Education Commissioner John King, SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher, Litow and Briccetti will address the group.

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