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Colorado P-TECH: Pathways in Technology Early College High Schools in CO

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What is P-TECH?

In 2015, Governor Hickenlooper signed the Pathways in Technology Early College High Schools (P-TECH) bill into law (HB15-1270 ). P-TECH is intended to create a public-private partnership to prepare thousands of Colorado students for high-skill jobs of the future.

  • P-TECH is an innovative partnership between a school district, a community college(s), and one or more local high growth industry employer(s).
  • Students begin in 9th grade and go through 14th grade (i.e. high school and two equivalent years of college) for a total of 6 years.
  • As such, students graduate with both a high school diploma and an industry-recognized associate degree, in addition to gaining relevant workplace skills.
  • The associate degree is in a Science, Technology, Engineering or Math (STEM) focused high-growth industry.
  • Students receive intensive student support services, in addition to mentoring, job shadowing, internships, pre-apprenticeships, and other workplace educational experiences.
  • P-TECH is open to all students, with a special focus on encouraging enrollment of students who are socio-economically and racially diverse, first generation college students, English language learners, and students with disabilities.

Why P-TECHs are so Important

  • By 2018, there will be 14 million new jobs requiring “middle skills”, suited for those with associate degrees. The highest paid of those jobs will be in STEM fields. By 2020, approximately 74% of jobs in Colorado will require some form of postsecondary credential. Yet many young adults not only lack the skills to succeed in these jobs, they fail to finish college altogether.
  • In Colorado, there is a striking disparity in degree attainment between white and under-represented minority students. To illustrate, the following are percentages within groups of Colorado residents aged 25-64 who have earned an associate degree or higher: 55% of White adults; 34% of Black adults; 27% of Native American adults; and 20% of Hispanic adults. That is a 35% degree attainment gap between White and Hispanic adults.

School districts, BOCES, institutions of higher education and dedicated high-growth industry employer partners who want to develop and operate a six-year stand-alone public high school or program within an existing high school focused on career and technical education programming can submit a P-TECH application packet to the Colorado Department of Education.