TROY — Capital Region high school students looking for pathways to well-paid careers will have more options this fall thanks to an innovative new partnership.
Questar III is partnering with Hudson Valley Community College to create a new high school to be housed on the college’s main campus in Troy. The STEM-career focused high school will serve students across seven counties and 46 school districts. Students entering the new high school will take advantage of several career-focused educational tracks through the Pathways in Technology, P-TECH (six-year) and Smart Scholars - Early College High School, SS-ECHS (four-year) programs.
These New York State-sponsored programs allow colleges and universities to partner with public school districts, creating an opportunity for students to earn college credits while completing their high school diploma. The programs will place students on the fast track to a college degree, while saving their families thousands of dollars in possible tuition costs. This is the first P-TECH and Smart Scholar Early College High School to be hosted on a community college campus in the Capital Region.
Academic pathway programs in the fields of computer information systems, engineering technology, environmental science and protection technology, and health science will be taught in the new school, which will be housed in the college’s newly renovated Lang Technical Building.
“We are excited to launch these programs in partnership with Hudson Valley Community College to benefit our region’s high school students by expanding their educational opportunities in STEM and STEM-related fields. These college preparatory programs will also have a positive impact on the economy in the region,” said Questar III BOCES District Superintendent Dr. Gladys I. Cruz.
“Creating a strong educational pathway from the region’s secondary schools, through our college and extending onward into careers, is what these programs are all about,” said Hudson Valley President Roger Ramsammy. “We are so excited to be the site of this new partnership with Questar III and we encourage families to take a good look at the very real benefits of P-TECH and Early College Programs.”
P-TECH and SS-ECHS programs prepare students for in-demand jobs in STEM and STEM-related fields. The models address both education and workforce development skills gaps by providing innovative approaches to high school and college education, while engaging corporate partners and local communities in student success.
A key component of these programs is engagement from local companies such as the Tech Valley Center of Gravity and the Artificial Intelligence Center of Excellence, whose involvement adds real-world experience and industry knowledge to the students’ education.
The programs are funded through grants from the New York State Department of Education. P-TECH is funded for $3,000,000 over seven years and Smart Scholars – Early College High School is funded for $870,537 over five years. The programs are designed to give historically underrepresented students at the postsecondary level the opportunity to get a jumpstart on their college education and their future career. Upon completion, students are first in line for jobs in exciting and growing fields. Approximately 70 students will be eligible to enter the programs each year, 45 in P-TECH and 25 in ECHS.
Students in the programs will earn up to 63 college credits toward an Associate’s Degree at no additional cost to their local school districts – tuition, fees, books, and instructional materials will be covered. Courses are taught by college faculty; professional development opportunities, increased access to college coursework, and strong project-based learning at 9th and 10th grade levels are additional benefits. Students will study in class with their fellow high school students, as well as in blended classes with college students.
The P-TECH program will offer six-year pathways in Computer Information Systems, Engineering Technology, and Environmental Science and Protection Technology, focusing on Clean Energy Management. The SS-ECHS program will offer four-year programs in Health Sciences, with other possible pathways offered in the future.
The Computer Information Systems path, which would include topics such as Web Development, Cybersecurity and Artificial Intelligence, provides students with a broad base of knowledge where students may learn about programming and logic, information resource management, systems analysis/design and database management for computer science, information technology (IT), informatics and technology and computer information systems.
The Engineering Technology path will teach students how to apply engineering principles to real-world problems, where students may learn how to perform field surveys, test and analyze construction materials and design hydraulic systems, or receive training in computer-aided drafting, among other topics.
The Environmental Science and Protection Technology path (focusing on Clean Energy Management), offers a foundation in the biological, physical and social sciences, as well as additional elective courses that explore environmental issues. Coursework brings together theoretical concepts in environmental science with laboratory experience and policy analysis for a well-rounded transfer-oriented program.
The Health Sciences pathway will provide students with coursework in the basic sciences, along with a concentration in specific health science areas. With proper course selection, students may continue into one of Hudson Valley Community College’s health science programs, preparing them to transfer to a four-year institution and eventually enter the workforce in one of many entry-level health care positions.
“Through the partnership we are trying to expand opportunities for students throughout our region in emerging fields. It’s good for our students and their families, for our schools and businesses, and for the larger community,” said Anthony Taibi, chief academic officer, Questar III BOCES.
Hudson Valley already partners with local school districts on several P-TECH programs. It houses the Clean Technologies Early College High School at its TEC-SMART extension center in Malta and collaborates on the Riverfront Partnership with Troy High School, and on the Capital Region P-TECH with Capital Region BOCES. The college also partners with several other local districts on pathway programs that allow high school students to achieve college credit while still in high school.