New approach to be tested in NJ schools for STEM education

David Madden
December 01, 2018 - 4:00 am
Students work during the "hour of coding" event Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015 at Wells Community Academy High School in Chicago.

Anthony Souffle/Chicago Tribune/TNS

PATERSON, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — New Jersey is selecting three high schools, including one in Burlington County, to take part in a new teaching approach for kids who are interested in tech jobs of the future. 

The public-private partnership, known as P-TECH — Pathways in Technology Early College High School — will be integrated at Burlington City High School next fall. The program will also join with schools in Patterson and New Brunswick.

P-TECH spans more than 100 innovative public schools, which brings together the best elements of high school, college and career for students in grades 9 to 14.

Students who qualify will enter a six-year program.

“Our students will receive a STEM-intensive public education that will lay a direct path to college and a career,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said at an announcement in Paterson. “In addition to their high school diploma, P-TECH graduates will also receive a no-cost — that’s zero cost — associate degree in a high-growth STEM field.”

In the case of the 25 to 30 students who will make up the initial Burlington class, their degree will come from Rowan College at Burlington County, paired with mentorship from Centryco, a locally based parts manufacturer.

In all, as many as 90 students will take part in the initial test of P-TECH.    

“We know we need to build a more tech-ready and innovation-savvy work force,” the governor added. “We know that nearly half the jobs we need to create by 2024 will need the skill set that the students at these high schools will acquire.” 

The hope is to expand the program if it proves to be successful. It is already in operation in eight states, including New York and Maryland.