P-TECH Links Education to Economic Development

Dunkirk Central School District and Erie 2 BOCES to create specialized academy.

Angola, NY, November 14, 2014 --(PR.com)-- A new six-year educational model will become a reality for students throughout the region through a program designed to provide students with a high school diploma, college degree, and pathway to employment.

The $2.8 million Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) grant was awarded to the consortium of Dunkirk City School District, Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES, Jamestown Community College, Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency, the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier, the Chautauqua Chamber of Commerce, and public school districts throughout the region.

The effort links education to regional economic development by offering students an opportunity to earn a New York State Regents Diploma, and an associate degree at no cost to their families. They will be first in line for employment opportunities with participating companies upon completion of the six-year program.

The funding will establish the Western New York P-TECH STEM College and Career Academy in the region. Starting with its first class of freshman in the fall of 2015, the Academy will prepare students for high-wage, high-tech, and high-demand jobs in Western New York. The academic and experiential learning program design specifically serves at-risk students by delivering an innovative, technology-infused, dual credit, career and technical educational program.

This program will offer a place-based, differentiated learning culture with specialized educators working in tandem with higher education, business partners and component school districts. All partners will support students as they obtain a Regents Diploma and AAS in Mechanical Technology or Welding. In addition, specializations will be available in pre-engineering design or precision machining as well as several certifications through E2CCB Career and Technical Education Programs.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for our students and our region,” said Gary Cerne, Superintendent of the Dunkirk Public Schools. “It changes the scope of education for students who are not traditionally college bound.

While Dunkirk CSD was the lead applicant for the grant, E2CCB will serve as the implementation agency for the grant and will house the program at the LoGuidice Educational Center in Fredonia, NY.

“I am incredibly proud of the collaboration that made this application successful in our region. Partners came to the table committed to this educational model and pledged their resources and support to make the Western New York P-TECH STEM College and Career Academy a reality for students from component school districts in three counties,” said Dr. David O’Rouke, District Superintendent for Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES. “In particular, I want to credit the work of Dunkirk City Schools, Jamestown Community College, the Chautauqua County Chamber, the Manufacturer’s Association of the Southern Tier, Dream It Do It of WNY, and the Chautauqua County IDA. Their partnerships are critical to making this program successful.”

Throughout the course of this program, instructional time will introduce students to industries in the region, project-based learning, career exploration and industry terminology, standards and employment soft skills. High-rigor STEM curriculum will be taught in a connected, collaborative environment, integrated with hands-on learning using state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment. Students will participate in job-shadowing and internship experiences throughout the program and utilize 1:1 technology integrated in the program.

Over the course of seven years, the WNY PTECH Academy will prepare 180 students for high-wage, high-tech, and high-demand jobs in Western New York. This program concentrates on the advanced manufacturing industries, which have been experiencing consistent growth and expansion in the region. These companies are seeking qualified employees who are fluid in technology, adaptable to change, and able to think on their feet.

The program is designed to create "high-tech manufacturing athletes of the future" to help companies continue to grow and innovate. At the same time, it will engage young people at risk in exciting college and career pathways geared toward good careers and futures within our region and the global economy.

New York State’s P-TECH partnership initiative was announced as part of the Governor’s 2013-2014 Executive Budget and receives additional funding and support through the State Education Department. The public-private initiative was launched in partnership with IBM, which helped create the P-TECH program and will provide tools, training and support to each participating school.

Following New York’s lead, Connecticut, in partnership with IBM, opened a P-TECH school this fall. Australia also recently announced plans to pilot a school modeled on P-TECH.

Winning partnerships were selected through a highly competitive process and represent leading industries from across New York State.

The application for the Western New York P-TECH STEM College and Career Academy was developed by a leadership team from the collaborative. The grant was written by the E2CCB Grant Procurement Service that has secured more than $11 million dollars for local, regional and state educational initiatives since its inception in 2010.

About Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES
The Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus (E2CC) BOCES is one of 37 BOCES in New York State. The E2CC BOCES represents all the school districts in Chautauqua County, southern Erie County, and part of Cattaraugus County, a geographical area of 1,791 square miles. Services are offered in the following areas: Adult & Community Education, Special Education, Alternative Education, Career & Technical Education, Staff & Curriculum Development, Instructional Support Services, Technology Services, Management Services, and others. During the 2013-2014 school year, K-12 enrollment in E2CCB Career & Technical Education, Special Education, and Alternative Education programs was 2,014. For more information, visit www.e2ccb.org.
Erie 2 Chatauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES
Joshua Gregory