Power of P-TECH: Embracing Collaboration between Industry and Education

PROVIDENCE, June 7, 2019:

Tech Collective completed its 3rd year coordinating and organizing workplace exposure for Providence P-TECH students.  P-TECH, which stands for Pathways in Technology Early College High School, provides access to college courseware and industry experience to high school students that can result in an associate’s degree in Computer Science and soft skill development.  This program creates an opportunity for Rhode Island’s students while also supplying a steady stream of trained employees to the tech industry.

The culture of a P-TECH school is built upon high expectations for students and team members alike. “Students see themselves as college students and on a career pathway from the moment they begin 9th grade.  Teachers, business partners, and parents work together to ensure that every student graduates fully prepared for the 21st century workplace.” Kris Turgeon, P-Tech Industry Liaison.

Industry Partners (IT companies) play a significant role in the P-TECH programs. Tech Collective has paired 100+ students with IT as mentors, as well as offering paid internships and worksite visits. Turgeon continues, “Providence P-TECH is grateful for the time and effort of this year’s mentors from FM Global, UNFI, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Fidelity, GE, MojoTech, Envision, and Insure My Trip.” Students working with mentors from industry leaders gain knowledge on many levels from the tech industry to confidence in engaging in new learning opportunities.

“Our mentors help us in many ways; they keep us on track with school, give us advice when needed, and show us the way/path to where we want to be in the future. My mentor is another person to get support from… My mentor talks to me about her personal experience and gives me advice on what I can do differently for my own experiences. Mentors overall, are one of the best things about P-TECH. “       Stephanie Vargas Sosa, 10th grade P-TECH student

Several Industry partners opened their doors to Providence P-TECH students for site visits. Over the course of the school year, every P-TECH student had the opportunity to leave school grounds and travel to a company and see first-hand IT professionals in action.  These visits offer students a tangible connection to the workplace and an understanding of career pathways.

P-TECH brings together the best elements of high school, college and career discovery.  Governor Raimondo spearheaded the first public-private partnership to receive funding for the P-TECH initiative in 2015. The statewide initiative links education to economic development. The winning partnership will prepare thousands of students for high-skill careers in technology, manufacturing, and healthcare.

Leading business and industry groups collaborated with the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE), and the Community College of Rhode Island to implement the program. They have supported the formation of 5 P-TECH schools in communities throughout Rhode Island.