IBM P-TECH School Boosts Number of Early Graduates Earning Both High School & College Tech Degrees

This fall, IBM’s innovative education model spreads to 60 schools with 250 industry partners

Brooklyn, NY - 02 Jun 2016: More than two dozen New York City youth will graduate from P-TECH with both their high school diplomas and their associate degrees in technology this month. These early graduates, four times the number of graduates from last June, are fast-tracking through an innovative education model co-developed by IBM (NYSE: IBM) that blends high school, community college, and work experience in one.

Early P-TECH Graduates

Four of the 27 Brooklyn P-TECH teens who are receiving both their high school and college degrees one year earlier than expected. Clockwise from left: Alyssa Sandy, Amanda Crawford, ShuDon Brown, Elisabel Herrera. (Credit: IBM)

The 27 students will receive their college degrees from the New York City College of Technology in computer systems technology or electromechanical engineering tonight at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. For more stories and photos of some of these young scholars, click here.

To date, early graduates from P-TECH total 38 students, all of whom completed the program one or two years ahead of schedule, with 10 receiving college honors. Last year, six out of the 11 early graduates have started jobs at IBM and five are pursuing their bachelor’s degrees at four-year institutions full time.  

Launched in 2011 as a public-private collaboration among IBM, the New York City Department of Education, and the City University of New York, P-TECH prepares youth, particularly low-income students of color, many of whom are the first generation in their families to go to college, to move beyond high school, earn a college degree, and enter the workforce with skills that employers value. Within six years or less, students can earn both a high school diploma and an associate degree in a STEM field. P-TECH helps young people to be both college and career-ready with STEM skills – disciplines that underpin some of the nation’s fastest growing industries and best paying jobs.

Lawmakers and state leaders are rapidly adopting IBM’s P-TECH model. This fall, the model will expand to 60 schools across six states, with 250 industry partners serving thousands of students. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan signed legislation last month bringing P-TECH schools to the state. Rhode Island and Colorado have adopted similar measures to replicate P-TECH schools across their states.   

“We are proud of P-TECH’s early graduates who are blazing their own successful paths,” said Stanley S. Litow, President of the IBM International Foundation and Vice President of IBM’s Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs. “We devised P-TECH to break the mold, help prepare young people for college, and address the nation’s skills crisis, which has led to economic stress. Given the opportunity and support, students who some thought could not succeed are defying stereotypes and exceeding expectations. P-TECH schools represent a proven, scalable and affordable model that addresses the crises in education, strengthens U.S. competitiveness and provides a bright future for America’s youth.”

“P-TECH is redefining possibilities for underserved youth and creating a new generation of young leaders,” said Rashid F. Davis, P-TECH Founding Principal. “Our extraordinary graduates show that homegrown American STEM talent can be produced, pointing the way to what is possible. We look forward to seeing this model serve communities across the nation, opening doors of opportunity for our young people.” 

U.S. data points to a skills crisis. A recent report by the National Assessment of Educational Progress reveals that only 37% of high school seniors across the United States are prepared for college work in math and reading. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, only 20% of all full-time community college students completed their two-year program within three years. Nationwide, only six percent of college graduates from low-income, high minority urban schools completed a STEM degree within six years, per a National Student Clearinghouse report. National data reveals the growth of millions of jobs that will require a college degree, while at the same time, 90 percent of low-income 24 year-olds lack college degrees. 

This year's P-TECH graduates completed in five years what is designed to be a six-year degree, which largely serves underrepresented youth in an open enrollment program. More than 25% of the first class (or 26 students), who began their studies when the program was inaugurated in 2011, are graduating early with associate degrees in computer information systems or electromechanical engineering. An estimated 60% of the first class are on track to complete their two-year degrees on time or earlier, surpassing national, state, and local college completion rates.

P-TECH schools across three states are also seeing strong levels of achievement:

  • 93% of students from 16 New York P-TECH schools in New York passed at least one Regents exam and 81% passed two or more Regents exams.  Nearly 75% of 10th grade students from a P-TECH school in Newburgh, NY are enrolled in college courses.

  • 17 students from a P-TECH school in the South Side of Chicago are on the fast track to earn their associate degrees by end of 2016. 22 students are on track to complete their degree early by spring 2017 (school opened in 2012).

  • Half of a P-TECH school in Norwalk, CT made the honor roll.


P-TECH schools are open to all students with no tests for admission, operate within existing state budgets, and are located in urban, suburban, and rural communities. The curriculum is aligned to skills that employers are looking for, combining academic rigor with career focus. Students are paired with mentors from the business community and can gain practical workplace experience with skills-based, paid internships. The groundbreaking education model is designed to help prepare young people for 21st century skills and help them compete for in-demand jobs in the U.S.

IBM, together with many P-TECH schools and the City University of New York, created a website (, making publicly available the formula, tools, and case studies to help other school districts, colleges, universities, and businesses establish new P-TECH schools across the nation.

For more information about the P-TECH story, journalists can visit a press kit at

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Four of the 27 Brooklyn P-TECH teens who are receiving both their high school and college degrees one year earlier than expected. Clockwise from left: Alyssa Sandy, Amanda Crawford, ShuDon Brown, Elisabel Herrera. (Credit: IBM)

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