PTECH leaders presented details of the program Monday, Dec. 21, to representatives from Empire State Development and Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, D-Rotterdam, explaining the integral role business partners and mentors play in the students’ education.
“We actually developed this program using a business model,” HFM BOCES District Superintendent Dr. Patrick Michel said. “Students here learn professional skills, and the teachers take on a different role.”
Now in its second year, the Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery Pathways in Technology Early College High School (HFM PTECH) embraces a new model for high school education. Centered on project based learning and including college-level, credit-bearing coursework in the curriculum, students to choose their own “pathways” to high-skill jobs in five career clusters — business management and administration, advanced manufacturing and clean technology, information technology, health sciences and renewable resources.
Through the program, students can earn one of 11 different associate’s degrees at Fulton-Montgomery Community College at no cost to their families and will be considered for jobs with participating companies when they graduate.
Empire State Development (ESD), New York’s chief economic development agency, works to grow the state economy by encouraging business investment and job creation through various forms of assistance.
Santabarbara, who serves the 111th Assembly District, which includes Montgomery County and parts of Schenectady and Albany counties, also toured the school. He said there are many businesses in the region that struggle with filling positions because people lack the necessary skills. He noted how PTECH’s approach works toward solving that problem.
“This model can provide that opportunity to get students career ready so they can get those jobs after they finish school,” Santabarbara said.
Tomkins said it’s important for schools in New York to create a “pipeline of workers” for companies across the state.
“We can create workplace opportunities, but we need to make sure we have places like PTECH that are preparing students for those opportunities,” he said.
Tomkins was impressed by the HFM PTECH students and is excited to see the growth of the school and its project-based learning model.
“A lot of really bright kids are going to be available to high-end employers, and that will be good for all of us,” he said. “PTECH is a promising pathway to the kind of transformation we’re working toward.”