Wanted: The Next Class Of P-TECH Students

William DeJesus grinds metal in OCC’s machine shop classroom in the Whitney Applied Technology Center. DeJesus started taking classes at OCC two years ago while he was a high school junior as part of the P-TECH Program. Next May he will earn his Mechanical Technology degree.

The Syracuse City School District (SCSD) is looking for the next group of students who will enter the P-TECH program. P-TECH stands for Pathways in Technology Early College High School. The program helps high school students earn valuable credits toward an associate degree while partnering with industry leaders.

In January the SCSD will host P-TECH Info Sessions for middle school students and Career & Technical Expos for 8th grade students at various locations across the district. More information on dates, times and locations can be found on the SCSD website.

Nearly 100 high school students are taking classes at OCC as part of P-TECH in one of the following majors: Clinical Laboratory Technology, Computer Information Systems, Drone Technology, Electrical Technology, Health Information Technology and Mechanical Technology. All costs associated with the P-TECH program including tuition, books and fees are covered by a grant from the New York State Education Department.

Four P-TECH students here are on an accelerated schedule. While attending the Institute of Technology at Syracuse Central (ITC) they amassed so many college credits they will earn their associate degree from OCC in just one year. One of them is William DeJesus, a Mechanical Technology major who started receiving job offers before coming to OCC in August. “In my family I’m the first person to go to college. The P-TECH program has opened up so many opportunities for me. It was important for me to get my degree now.”

Imari Gary (left), Quintin Shanes (center) and Mike Lloyd (right) are majoring in Electrical Technology through the P-TECH program.

Three P-TECH students majoring in Electrical Technology are on the same schedule as DeJesus. They received their diplomas from ITC in June 2018 and will earn their associate degrees from OCC in May 2019. They are Imari Gary, Mike Lloyd and Quintin Shanes. The thought of taking college classes before you are college-aged may seem intimidating. Gary said the professors at OCC made the transition seamless. “When we started coming to campus they were all extremely helpful. They knew we were high school students and steered us in the right direction.” A year from now Gary plans to be at the Rochester Institute of Technology pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Technology.

Besides being a full time student Lloyd also works at Carrier as a lab technician. He’s hoping his position there will become full time after he earns his degree from OCC. “I’m definitely glad I did this program. My parents picked it for me. I wasn’t on board with it at first but now I really like it.”

By contrast, Shanes seemed destined for Electrical Technology. His father is an engineer and his brother has an Electrical Engineering degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology. Shanes plans to transfer to Syracuse University next fall and pursue his bachelor’s degree. How can a middle school student know if P-TECH and Electrical Technology is for him or her? Shanes has the answer. “If you’re curious and want to know how things work like your phone or something in your house, engineering is the way to answer those questions. In P-TECH you can surround yourself with people who have an ‘I want to be better mindset’ and never settle.”

P-TECH Program Sparks Careers

William DeJesus grinds metal in OCC’s machine shop classroom in the Whitney Applied Technology Center. DeJesus started taking classes at OCC two years ago while he was a high school junior. Next May he will earn his Mechanical Technology degree.

 

OCC’s P-TECH program has worked out better than William DeJesus could have imagined. He’s found his passion and had the opportunity to go to the White House to talk about it. “I know I made the right decision. This program set me on a path going in one direction.”

P-TECH students (left to right) Robert Felder, William DeJesus and Lilly La share their stories with Congressman John Katko and White House Adviser Ivanka Trump.

DeJesus began taking P-TECH classes at OCC two years ago when he was a junior at the Institute of Technology at Syracuse Central (ITC). P-TECH stands for Pathways in Technology Early College High School. The program helps high school students earn valuable credits toward an associate degree while partnering with industry leaders. P-TECH students can pursue a degree in either Electrical Engineering Technology or Mechanical Technology. “I was nervous when I started coming to OCC. I wondered how I was going to manage classes at two different places. But with all of the support of the professors here and the support at the high school I was able to do it.”

In June, DeJesus was a member of the first graduating class of the P-TECH program at ITC. A few weeks after commencement he and two other students participated in a roundtable discussion at the school on education and workforce development. White House adviser Ivanka Trump participated in the discussion and was so impressed with the students she invited them to Washington for a jobs-related bill signing ceremony two weeks later. “It was a phenomenal experience. Being in that room where so many famous people had been before us, you got a chill going through you.” DeJesus took advantage of the setting, networking with CEO’s from IBM, FedEx and Wal-Mart and exchanging contact information with them.

DeJesus (far left) at a bill signing ceremony at the White House in July.

DeJesus also received three job offers during the summer but made the decision to continue his education full-time at OCC. Thanks to the 32 college credits he amassed while attending ITC, he will earn his associate degree in Mechanical Technology next May. “The P-TECH program has opened up so many opportunities for me. In my family I’m the first person to go to college.”

The P-TECH program is continuing to present opportunities for all who follow DeJesus. Nearly 100 high school students are taking classes at OCC as part of P-TECH. They’re coming to campus from DeJesus’ alma mater, ITC and The Center for Instruction, Technology and Innovation (CiTi BOCES) in Oswego County. OCC also offers P-TECH programs in Clinical Laboratory Technology, Computer Information Systems, Drone Technology and Health Information Technology.

You can learn more about supporting OCC students through the Believe In Better fundraising campaign here.

Celebrating P-TECH

(Left to right) Robert Felder, Lilly La and William DeJesus are members of the first class of P-TECH students and 2018 graduates of the Institute of Technology at Syracuse Central.

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.

P-TECH students (left to right) Robert Felder, William DeJesus and Lilly La share their stories with Congressman John Katko and White House Adviser Ivanka Trump.

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.

P-TECH Program Brings Henninger Freshmen to OCC Campus

Henninger High School 9th grade students (left to right) Michaela Cooper, Brenden Gallipeau and Kaila Dorsey examine a computer motherboard during Health Information Technology class on the OCC campus.
Henninger High School 9th grade students (left to right) Michaela Cooper, Brenden Gallipeau and Kaila Dorsey examine a computer motherboard during Health Information Technology class on the OCC campus.

Henninger High School students know a great opportunity when they see one. More than two dozen 9th graders came to the OCC campus in January as they began work toward earning college credits in Health Information Technology and Clinical Lab Technician programs. “I want to go to college and pursue a medical profession and this gets me started,” said Lara Shqair, a Henninger High School freshman.

Shqair and her classmates are taking advantage of the Pathways in Technology Early College High School program, or P-TECH. It allows students to complete work on their high school diploma while earning credits toward their associate degree. P-TECH is funded by a grant from the New York State Education Department. The grant covers tuition, books and fees. The program is free of charge to the students.

The Health Information Technology and Clinical Lab Technician programs are the product of a partnership between the Syracuse City School District, OCC, SUNY Broome, SUNY Upstate Medical University, St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center and Laboratory Alliance of Central NY. Students will come to the OCC campus for their Health Information Technology classes. They’ll take their Clinical Lab Technician courses online through SUNY Broome.

“We’ll make sure students have the essential skills to be successful,” said Karen Fabrizio, Chair and Coordinator of OCC’s Health Information Technology program. “When these students graduate from high school they will be more than halfway toward earning their associate degree.”

Henninger students spent two days on the OCC campus as part of the effort to help build the student engagement component of the program and receive computer training. They met the two OCC Professors they’ll be learning from, Marlesha Minet and Meredith Wolanske. Students were also introduced to “Blackboard,” OCC’s Learning Management System. Professors use Blackboard to communicate with students by posting class content. Students use Blackboard to submit assignments.

These Henninger 9th graders are the first group of students in the Health Information Technology and Clinical Lab Technician P-TECH program. OCC is participating in two other P-TECH programs, both of which present students with opportunities in Electrical Engineering Technology or Mechanical Technology. It includes students from the Institute of Technology at Syracuse Central along with students in all nine Oswego County school districts.

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College Classes in High School

Lilla La (left) and Professor Richard Mark (right) talk shop in Engineering Drawing class.
Lilly La (left) and Professor Richard Mark (right) talk shop in Engineering Drawing class.

Science seemed to be in Lilly La’s future from a young age. “I was always taking part in science competitions and I loved the technology class I took at Frazer Middle School,” La said. Today she is a junior at the Institute of Technology at Syracuse Central who is taking science-related classes at OCC as part of the “P-Tech” program. P-Tech stands for Pathways in Technology Early College High School. The program helps high school students earn valuable credits toward an associate degree while partnering with industry leaders. P-Tech students can pursue a degree in either Electrical Engineering Technology or Mechanical Technology.

William DeJesus is a student in the Machine Tool class.
William DeJesus is a student in the Machine Tool class.

During the fall semester La is focused on Mechanical Technology. Every Monday and Wednesday she comes to the Whitney Applied Technology Center and spends the morning in Engineering Drawing class. “This is a great opportunity for a high school student,” La said. “I enjoy taking a college class and I have a good professor (Richard Mark) who I get to work one-on-one with.”

William DeJesus is also enjoying his opportunity to earn college credits at OCC. He’s in a Machine Tool class which is also part of the Mechanical Technology major. “I’ve learned a lot about time management. You have more work than you do with a high school class and you learn how to get it all done.” On Monday’s DeJesus attends lectures. On Wednesday’s students have class in a machine shop setting and practice what they’ve been learning. “It’s nice to get time working with the machines. I enjoy the opportunity to not always be in a classroom.”

In the spring semester La and Dejesus will switch classes. La and her classmates will take the Machine Tool class, DeJesus and his classmates will be in Engineering Drawing. During their senior year students from the Institute of Technology will come to campus three days a week.

All costs associated with the P-Tech program including tuition, books and fees are covered by a grant from the New York State Education Department.

College Signing Day

Students at the Institute of Technology at Syracuse Central celebrate signing to attend Onondaga Community College as part of the P-Tech program.
Students at the Institute of Technology at Syracuse Central celebrate their entry into OCC’s P-Tech program.

Monday was “College Signing Day” in the Syracuse City School District. Students at each of the five city high schools had the opportunity to sign with the college of their choice and put a handmade sign on the wall indicating which college they would be attending. Onondaga Community College played a significant role in the festivities with representatives at each of the schools.

Rahmeek Ford (center) is welcomed into the P-Tech program by OCC President Dr. Casey Crabill (left) and Syracuse Schools Superintendent Sharon Contreras (right).
Rahmeek Ford (center) is welcomed into the P-Tech program by OCC President Dr. Casey Crabill (left) and Syracuse Schools Superintendent Sharon Contreras (right).

The biggest celebration was reserved for the Institute of Technology at Syracuse Central where college will be starting early for 39 sophomores. These students are part of the “P-Tech” program which stands for Pathways in Technology Early College High School. The program is a collaboration between the Syracuse City School District and OCC which helps high school students earn valuable credits toward an associate degree while partnering with industry leaders. These students will come to the OCC campus twice a week for classes during their junior year of high school and three times a week during their senior year.

Quintin Shanes will pursue a degree in Electrical Engineering Technology.
Quintin Shanes will pursue a degree in Electrical Engineering Technology.

During the signing ceremony Syracuse Schools Superintendent Sharon Contreras and OCC President Dr. Casey Crabill told students about their shared vision for the program. “Dr Crabill and I met three years ago and discussed how to make college affordable for every single student. We asked, ‘How do we get more women into sciences and engineering? How do we make sure underrepresented students have the opportunity to go into college and to go into fields that result in high paying jobs,’” said Contreras. “We did a lot of thinking about all of you back before you were thinking about coming into our program because we wanted to make sure the program we put together would give you the opportunity to excel,” said Dr. Crabill. “We’re very excited to welcome you to campus. I look forward to the day when I can give you your degrees on the stage at the SRC Arena.”

Following the remarks each student was given a certificate which included his or her name and chosen degree path of either Electrical Engineering Technology or Mechanical Technology. Students also posed for photos with Contreras and Crabill.

Student Quintin Shanes will be pursuing an Electrical Engineering Technology degree in the P-Tech program. His love of math, science and technology started in the home. Shanes’ father is an electrical engineer. “It’s like a free two years where you don’t have to worry about college debt. If my dad was my age right now he would definitely take advantage of this.”

All costs associated with the P-Tech program including tuition, books and fees are covered by a grant from the New York State Education Department.

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Pathway to Success

Professor Bob Latham (right) is Chair of OCC's Electrical Technology and Mechanical Technology programs.
Professor Bob Latham (right) is Chair of OCC’s Electrical Technology and Mechanical Technology programs.

A new program is giving students the opportunity to work toward a rewarding career at a young age. It’s called “P-TECH” which stands for Pathways in Technology Early College High School. The program helps high school students earn valuable credits toward an associate degree while partnering with industry leaders. The College is taking part in three P-TECH grants:

  • This partnership between the Syracuse City School District, OCC and the Manufacturer’s Association of Central New York allows students to pursue a degree in either Electrical Engineering Technology or Mechanical Technology. All costs including tuition, books and fees are covered by a grant from the New York State Education Department.
  • This collaboration includes the Syracuse City School District, OCC, Broome Community College, SUNY Upstate Medical University, St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center and the Laboratory Alliance of Central NY. Degree choices include Health Information Technology from OCC or Clinical Lab Technician from Broome C.C. All costs are covered by the grant.
  • This partnership includes nine Oswego County school districts, the Center for Instruction, Technology and Innovation, OCC, Novelis, Huhtamaki and the Fulton Companies. Degree choices are Electrical Engineering Technology and Mechanical Technology. All costs are covered by the grant.

P-TECH students will have the opportunity to take part in job shadowing and internships. All students will be assigned a mentor who will provide support throughout the program. Successful students will be first in line for entry level employment positions within their respective majors. You can learn more about P-TECH here.