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P-TECH OHM Partners with NYPA

The New York Power Authority (NYPA) announced today a collaboration with Pathways in Technology Early College High Schools, known as P-TECH, and state and city universities to serve as a business partner in a public-private partnership that helps high school students develop the workplace skills and credentials they will need to land competitive jobs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. 

P-TECH offers students interested in STEM careers a way to get both a high school diploma and a two-year associate’s degree from a nearby college. The integrated curriculum brings together an industry partner, in this case NYPA, with a high school and local community college to educate students and ensure they have the skills required to enter the workforce after graduation. 

“It’s important for NYPA to work closely with communities to help inspire our future leaders in energy, technology and science,” said Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA president and CEO. “Through mentoring, site visits and paid internships, NYPA will provide a pipeline of diverse utility and clean energy workers that are skilled and career-ready. As we set our sights on achieving Governor Cuomo’s climate leadership goals, our commitment to STEM education is vital. By enhancing student awareness of technology and innovation, we will inspire, and train, the next generation of clean energy leaders.” 

The initiative is part of NYPA’s Environmental Justice STEM program, which provides educational resources to students from underrepresented communities in close proximity to NYPA’s statewide power generation and transmission assets. Also a key component in an industry-leading, organization-wide Diversity, Equity and Inclusion plan, the P-TECH program affirms NYPA’s commitment to encouraging, creating, and maintaining a truly diverse, equitable and inclusive workforce. 

First launched by IBM in 2011, the P-TECH public education model has been adopted in 240 schools across 28 countries with more than 150,000 students and 600 corporate partners.

The program combines rigorous coursework with workplace experiences that include industry mentoring, worksite visits and paid internships. The primary goal of P-TECH is to serve under-resourced schools. There is open enrollment and no cost to students and their families. Program partners support the students all the way through to the successful completion of an associate’s degree – and studies show that P-TECH students finish their associate’s at four times the rate of their peers. Also, most students end up pursuing a four-year degree. 

“Young people are the leaders of tomorrow,” said Lisa Payne Wansley, NYPA’s vice president of Environmental Justice. “Through this P-TECH and NYPA collaboration, we will give young people of color and from underserved communities an opportunity to become involved in, and indeed to lead, our transformation to a clean energy economy here in New York State.”

NYPA will offer mentorships and internships to students, provide curriculum support and site visits, participate on the schools’ steering committees, and find ways to involve students at its facilities. It is anticipated that 15 internships will be offered during the summer of 2021 with the number growing to 100 over five years.

NYPA is finalizing agreements with three high schools in the Mohawk Valley, Western New York and New York City. Working with a local college, the school and industry partner collaborate on all aspects of the program. At present, the P-TECH program staff are focusing on: 

  • Partnering with Oneida-Herkimer-Madison Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) P-TECH and Mohawk Valley Community College (SUNY) to bring energy-related academic tracks to the Utica area. OHM BOCES P-TECH areas of interest include electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and cybersecurity.
  • Partnering with Be Solar P-TECH and Erie Community College (SUNY) to bring programs to the Buffalo / Niagara area. Be Solar’s areas of interest include computers and electronics.
  • Partnering with Energy Tech P-TECH and LaGuardia Community College (CUNY) to bring programs to Long Island City, Queens. Energy Tech’s areas of interest include electrical and mechanical engineering.

“This partnership with NYPA is a major asset to not only our P-TECH OHM students but the Mohawk Valley region as a whole,” said Christopher Hill, OHM BOCES Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Services. “We are always looking for new and innovative ways to educate students for the critical roles in our region’s workforce. Through this collaboration with NYPA, we will be able to prepare our local students for careers in this in-demand field and also help build a skilled and educated workforce for our region’s future.”

“We are excited for this unique opportunity to partner with the nation’s largest public power organization, NYPA,” said P-TECH OHM Principal Erica Schoff. “Business and industry partners play such a vital role in the P-TECH education model by providing authentic and meaningful experiences in fields that students have an interest in. We know that the new insights and knowledge provided through this partnership will open up an even wider array of education and career possibilities to students in our program.”

About NYPA

NYPA is the largest state public power organization in the nation, operating 16 generating facilities and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. More than 80 percent of the electricity NYPA produces is clean renewable hydropower. NYPA uses no tax money or state credit. It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity.