The accomplishments of the first graduating class of the P-TECH program were celebrated during a roundtable discussion on education and workforce development. “P-TECH helped prepare me both academically and with my vocational skills,” said Lilly La. She’s a member of the class of 2018 at the Institute of Technology at Syracuse Central (ITC) and one of the top students in the P-Tech program.
P-TECH stands for Pathways in Technology Early College High School. The program creates individual pathways for students to simultaneously obtain their high school diploma, earn an associate degree and obtain workplace learning experience. La and her classmates came to Onondaga Community College and took classes in Mechanical Technology or Electrical Technology while in high school. La will be attending Syracuse University in the fall.
The discussion was held at ITC and moderated by Congressman John Katko. White House adviser Ivanka Trump participated in the event along with Syracuse School District Superintendent Jaime Alicea, Onondaga Community College President Casey Crabill and several other local college and high school administrators and leaders from the Manufacturers Association of Central New York and CenterStateCEO.
Another graduating student, Robert Felder, told the audience how P-Tech made a difference in his career path. “Through P-Tech I had an opportunity to start an internship at United Radio and it turned into a job.” Felder will attend Alfred University in the fall.
William DeJesus will continue pursuing his Mechanical Technology degree at OCC this fall. DeJesus overcame a learning disability, earned 32 college credits while in high school, and plans to earn his associate degree next May. “Coming into high school I didn’t know what I wanted to do. With P-Tech, I had Electrical Technology and Mechanical Technology. It gave me options other kids didn’t have.”
OCC President Casey Crabill congratulated all three students on their accomplishments and their decisions to continue their education. “We are very proud of them. We are as excited about the fact they’ve made choices to go on in various directions as we would be had they all come to us. We think part of the power of P-TECH is expanding student’s understanding of what is possible so they can make the best choice for themselves.”
OCC will be starting two new P-TECH programs this fall in the Public Service Learning Academy (formerly Fowler High School) in Computer Information Systems and Drone Technology.