The Business Council supports this legislation, with minor recommendations, that would create a P-TECH and early college high school fund in statute and provide $25 million in appropriations to preserve and expand existing partnerships. Currently, language pertaining to these programs must be inserted annually into the aid to localities budget bill.
The Business Council’s recommendations would specify funding for the existing P-TECH cohorts and ensure that the legislation does not preclude expansion of P-TECH in the form of new partnerships in the coming years.
The bill adds a new section 6458 to the education law to create a P-TECH fund, monies of which would first go to existing partnerships towards cost-free associate’s degrees and the preservation of existing programs.
The bill would make a total of $25 million available from existing General Fund resources, with $18 million for grants to support P-TECH schools, and $7 million available for early college high school programs.
Monies will be made available for the following purposes, as further prescribed in the RFP process:
- Existing evidence-based or standards based curriculum focused on STEM careers
- Recruitment activities
- Professional development, including cross-curriculum development between partners to ensure curriculum prepares students for college and during career training
- Up to ten percent of funds awarded under this section may be used for eligible applicants to purchase equipment needed to upgrade existing programs or new equipment to start a program;
- Workshops and planning meetings between partners, parents, college faculty, business, etc.
- post-secondary curriculum development to help meet the needs of employers
- Service contracts between members of the partnerships
- transportation for student to higher ed. partner campuses
- tuition, books and fees (tuition reimbursement can only be for non-remedial, credit-bearing college course)
The bill also adds a new section 6457 to the education law to create a fund for early college high school programs. Awards would be made to eligible applicants through a competitive RFP process for 5-year funding cycles beginning in 2016-17, with priority given to at-risk/ economically-disadvantaged kids and those funded under a prior RFP process based on demonstration of successful student outcomes.
NYS P-TECH is a proven, innovative school model that integrates career and technical education, academic instruction and work-based learning experiences, relying on a dynamic partnership between school districts, community colleges and local business to ensure that students are prepared with the skills they need to be successful after graduation.
At the end of the six-year NYS P-TECH program, students earn a high school diploma and an associate degree in a STEM field. There are currently 33 partnerships receiving state funding.
As an example, eleven students from the legacy cohort (those who entered Grade 9 at Brooklyn P-TECH in September 2011) have already graduated with both a high school diploma AND an AAS degree in just four and a half years. These students are working at IBM or entering a four-year competitive college program. There were no high school dropouts from the first class and dozens of students will complete their AAS degree within the six year schedule, a rate that far exceeds the average community college completion rates. The NYS P-TECH first cohort of schools continues to model this success, serving a population that is more disadvantaged than the average for their school districts and completing high school and college courses and passing Regents exams at a higher rate.
On the national and state levels, employers are having difficulty finding skilled workers to fill open positions, not only in terms of technical and/or academic skills, but in relation to “soft skills” such as showing up on time and working in groups. These partnerships between school districts, higher education and the private sector allow businesses to play a critical role in mentoring and providing work-site learning experiences.
For these reasons, The Business Council supports this legislation, with the recommendations outlined above.