MDRC in the News
A Job and a College Degree Before You Graduate High School
…..The program’s first school, known simply as P-TECH High School, launched in 2011 in Brooklyn as a collaboration between IBM, the New York City Department of Education, and the City University of New York (CUNY). It was the brainchild of Stanley Litow, then an executive at IBM, who designed P-TECH as a special education project for the company. Litow says he wanted to help improve students’ lifetime earnings and to address the “skills gap”—that is, the gulf between available jobs that require certain skills and the people who have the education necessary to fill those jobs…..
…..In order to become a success, Dallas P-TECH needed to build strong ties to business. Corporate partners don’t make financial contributions to P-TECH beyond paying interns’ wages. Instead, they offer mentoring and internships—or, as Hinojosa likes to say, some “love.” The Dallas school district started with about 25 industry partners, including AT&T and Microsoft, and now has close to 100, from Cisco Systems Inc. to PepsiCo/Frito-Lay. The roster includes several airlines and big banks and tech giants, a list that stands out for both the sheer number of industry partners and their diversity, which offers opportunities to kids with a wide range of interests…..
…..Remarkably, in 2021, about a third of students who earned an associate’s degree that year in Dallas had failed their eighth-grade exam. “They shouldn’t have even been in high school,” said Hinojosa, who completed his last year with the district in June 2022. According to a recent study of the program, such turnaround stories are typical for P-TECH students. An April 2022 evaluation by MDRC—a nonprofit, nonpartisan education and social policy research organization—found that P-TECH schools in New York City were “particularly successful at helping students at risk of underperforming in high school achieve important academic milestones.”
The evaluation found that, “in particular, [P-TECH] increased dual enrollment for this group of students, which may be significant since prior research has found that students who take college courses while in high school are more likely to both enroll in college and complete postsecondary education degrees.” MDRC plans to release a final report on P-TECH in New York, including a cost study, in 2023…..