P-TECH Program Gives Fulton Montgomery Students Fast Track to Jobs

Through what Gov. Andrew Cuomo referred to as a "groundbreaking program,” high school students from the Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery Board of Educational Services will have an opportunity to earn associate degrees and have preference for some jobs upon graduation.

HFM BOCES and its component school districts were part of a consortium that was among 16 statewide winners of a grant to participate in NYS P-TECH (NYS Pathways in Technology Early College High School). The public-private initiative was launched in August 2013 in partnership with IBM. Along with HFM BOCES, Fulton-Montgomery Community College and 16 regional businesses were part of the Mohawk Valley Region in the competition.

Approximately 50 students from the 13 participating HFM BOCES school districts will be placed in the program when it begins in the 1914-15 school year. All will be ninth graders who are considered at-risk students, says Mike Dardaris, chief learning officer for P-TECH at HFM BOCES.

“This program is designed to intervene and place students on a pathway to a college education and an entry level career with one of our business partners,” Dardaris says. “Students will earn a college degree at no cost to them or their family, and will gain the necessary skills and knowledge to work in the highly technical 21st-century workplace.

“Because almost 60 percent of all jobs require at least an associate degree, this program is designed to directly impact our local unemployment rates.”

All students will earn a high school regents diploma and an associate degree from FMCC in applied science through one of four career clusters: business management and administration, information technology, advanced manufacturing and health science.

Dardaris is spending the 2013-14 school year recruiting students for the program, as well as enlisting area businesses to participate. Some of the businesses that have signed on include the Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce, Benjamin Moore, St. Mary’s Health Care and Beech Nut Corp., among others.

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