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Jobs the Focus as Governor Launches High School STEM Program

‘It’s STEM on steroids,’ says mayor whose city will be one of the first to benefit from the initiative

Gov. Phil Murphy has teamed up with IBM on a new STEM education program for high schoolers. Called P-Tech, it will enable students who are passionate about science and math to get an associate degree in science, an industry mentor, and internship experience, all while still in high school. (The STEM field encompasses science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.)

“The P-Tech model, co-developed by IBM, brings together public high schools, businesses and county colleges to create clear career pathways for students,” the governor said at yesterday’s announcement.

“We already have the largest concentration of scientists, engineers, and Ph.D.’s in the world in New Jersey,” Murphy said. “What we are going to be missing are going to be the products that will come out of a Panther Academy, out of a P-Tech. These are really good paying jobs, high value-added, highly skilled, high paid.”

The P-Tech model already has been adopted in eight other states and four other countries. P-Tech schools allow students to earn both their high school diploma and a two-year college degree, said Grace Suh, vice president of education at IBM Corporation. “And this is not just any college degree,” Suh said. “This is a degree that is aligned to labor market standards in a competitive STEM field. It’s also a degree that’s unburdened by student debt.”

New Jersey will spend $900,000 in state and federal funds to launch the program next school year in three New Jersey districts — Burlington City, New Brunswick and Panther Academy High School in Paterson.

“This program can best be described as STEM on steroids. It doesn’t get stronger than this, as far as economic opportunities are concerned,” said Paterson Mayor Andrew Sayegh.

Read the full story on NJTV News Online, a content partner of NJ Spotlight.

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