During a swing through West Baltimore on Tuesday, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan confirmed prior statements that Baltimore will be the home of the first schools in the state to implement an IBM-developed program to help students gain STEM skills.
Carver Vocational Technical High School in West Baltimore and Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in East Baltimore will begin implementing P-TECH starting in the fall of 2016, Baltimore City School Board Chair Marnell Cooper told a crowd of school leaders and dignitaries gathered at Carver.
“Our administration is committed to thinking outside the box, and advocating for innovative solutions to ensure that every single child has the opportunity to get a world-class education, regardless of what neighborhood they happen to grow up in,” Hogan said.
P-TECH, which began in New York and is expanding, brings in companies and universities to help students. The program starts in 9th grade and pairs each student with a mentor, and students receive an associate’s degree and participate in internships in addition to earning a high school diploma. They are first in line for jobs at the companies that help train them.
Officials said “dozens” of students would likely be in the program, and the program will not cost additional money. Through a bill passed by the General Assembly earlier this year, each school will receive a $100,000 grant.
As hinted by Johns Hopkins President Ronald Daniels last year, Dunbar’s P-TECH program will focus on health IT. Along with JHU, Kaiser Permanente and the University of Maryland, Baltimore are partners.
At Carver, IBM will be the industry partner, and the focus of the program will be on IT and cybersecurity.
Both schools already have CTE (Career Technical Education) programs, and have graduated a number of students with certification, Cooper said.
At the announcement event, some of the machinations that brought the program to Maryland were on display. Hogan credited Keiffer Mitchell, a former Baltimore City Councilman who serves as a special adviser to the governor, with initially making the connection with IBM Foundation President Stanley Litow to get the partnership rolling.
State Sen. Catherine Pugh, the Democratic nominee for mayor of Baltimore, joined a chorus of officials praising all parties’ ability to push the P-TECH bill through the General Assembly quickly. At the end, she and Hogan hugged.
“This is what the future of Baltimore is about,” she said. “It’s about galvanizing partnerships, understanding that the private sector plays an important role in how we move our city forward.”