MEXICO – Students throughout Oswego County will have new, innovative learning opportunities next year, thanks to a collaboration among area education providers and local businesses.
The grant-funded initiative, P-TECH (Pathways in Technology Early College High School), will give 50 freshmen representing all nine Oswego County school districts an option to develop knowledge, career skills and expertise in advanced manufacturing.
As part of the program, students will utilize state-of-the-art equipment in a regional high school setting at the Center for Instruction, Technology & Innovation in Mexico.
According to Christopher Todd, CiTi district superintendent, P-TECH unites the area’s educational and business sectors for the betterment of the entire community.
The partnership includes Onondaga Community College, Novelis, Huhtamaki, the Fulton Companies, all nine Oswego County school districts and CiTi.
“P-TECH will provide seamless access to higher education opportunities that prepare students with the skills needed to be successful in advanced manufacturing careers,” Todd said. “The main goal of the P-TECH school is to graduate students with the academic, technical and essential workplace skills and industry credentials they will need for innovative careers with area business partners.”
The historic collaboration has been lauded by local school administrators.
Sean Bruno, superintendent for the Mexico Academy and Central School District, noted that the grant-funded program is a great opportunity for students and the community as a whole.
“This is truly an innovative approach to education that will have a lasting impact on our students, our economy and Oswego County,” Bruno said.
Anita Murphy, superintendent for the Altmar-Parish-Williamstown School District, echoed those sentiments as she lauded the effort.
“This grant affords all high school students the chance to better prepare for secondary education and beyond while building an economic engine for Oswego County, and I am thrilled to have this initiative offered to the students of APW,” Murphy said.
On the other side of the county, Hannibal Central School District interim superintendent Pete Backus shared the same outlook as his colleagues regarding the P-TECH school.
“Students who enroll in the regional high school will gain the knowledge and skills that will lead to success in the world of work and in life,” he said. “When our students thrive, our community thrives.”
Under the terms of the grant, nearly $3 million will be allocated to the P-TECH school over a six-year period.
The grant application was extensive; however, the efforts are expected to pay dividends for years to come.
“The Central Square School District would like to thank everyone for their hard work on submitting this grant as well as thank our business partners for supporting the students in our county,” said Central Square Central School District superintendent Joseph Menard. “What a wonderful opportunity!”
The business component was critical in the formation and implementation of the P-TECH school, noted Sandy Creek Central School District superintendent Stewart Amell.
The Central New York Regional Economic Development Council will play a significant role in establishing the framework for the school’s success, he said.
The REDC will work with the school to achieve its vision of aligning workforce development, training and education programs with current and emerging regional economic opportunities.
“This pragmatic approach will develop a skilled manufacturing workforce locally that could result in economic development for Oswego County,” said Pulaski Academy and Central School District superintendent Brian Hartwell. “Hopefully this is the beginning of establishing a regional approach to education that maximizes opportunities for our children.”
By maximizing educational opportunities, P-Tech will serve as a “pathway that opens doors for our students for college and provides them with the skills demanded by our public and private professional career partners,” said Oswego City School District assistant superintendent Dean Goewey.
“The P-TECH school will prepare students of the Fulton City School District — and students across Oswego County — for successful employment with local industry partners,” added FCSD superintendent Bill Lynch.
In addition to the enriched educational experience, students who have successfully completed the six-year program will have earned a New York State Regents Diploma/Regents Diploma with Advanced Designation and a Technical Endorsement, recognized industry credentials, and an associate’s degree in electrical engineering technology or mechanical technology from Onondaga Community College.
“This is a golden opportunity for our kids to have a chance to earn a two-year degree through the P-TECH school,” said Phoenix Central School District superintendent Judy Belfield.
Currently, the P-TECH school is in the planning phase with a summer program to be offered this summer.
Full enrollment and implementation will take place for the start of the 2016-2017 school year.