It’s been said the most in-demand jobs of the future exist only in our imaginations. An estimated 65% of children entering schools today will work in roles that don’t currently exist and the central driving force is technology. The quick pace of high-tech, in-demand skills training has caused America to rethink higher education programs, particularly in STEM areas. Graduates entering the workforce are finding that by the time they complete their college degree, their 2 and 4-year old technical skills are out of date, having been replaced by newer, more innovative technology.
While employers struggle to identify qualified workers in critical areas such as cyber-security, data science, artificial intelligence and cognitive business, IBM developed a new educational model that is quickly gaining momentum: six-year public high schools, which integrate elements of high school, college and career training.
The first of these schools – Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) – opened five years ago in Brooklyn, NY. P-TECH spans grades 9 to 14, with a curriculum geared towards the job skills needed for STEM careers. Students graduate with an associate degree applicable to careers in engineering, information technology and applied science. The results speak for themselves with 35% of students from the first class graduating one to two years ahead of schedule and high job placement numbers that rival elite private schools.