Updated March 25 at 6:26pm

P-TECH programs launch in Newport, Providence, Westerly

The Newport Pathways in Technology Early College High School program, also known as P-TECH, welcomed its first ninth grade class on Sept. 7.

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P-TECH programs launch in Newport, Providence, Westerly


NEWPORT – The Pathways in Technology Early College High School program, also known as P-TECH, launched last month in three school districts, Newport, Providence and Westerly.

The program is designed to expose students to careers in advanced industries. Information technology, advanced manufacturing and cybersecurity, all identified as growth industries in the state, are the focus of P-TECH. Students in the program are mostly ninth-graders, but there are a few 10th-graders as well, according to information from R.I. Commerce Corp.

Gov. Gina M. Raimondo, who attended the kick-off for the P-TECH program at Westerly High School on Sept. 7, told the students: “Education is economic development. My top education priority is ensuring that every student graduates with the skills that matter for jobs that pay, including the thousands of jobs Electric Boat will create in the next 10 years. P-TECH will help Rhode Island and Rhode Islanders compete today and into the future.”

Sixteen students are enrolled in the Westerly program, according to Commerce RI.

The program also is at Rogers High School in Newport and the Providence Career and Technical Academy, which has 50 students enrolled.

Rogers welcomed its first ninth grade P-TECH class also on Sept. 7. Forty students – 21 females and 19 males – are involved in the program. Students in the program will earn an associate of science degree in cybersecurity, along with their high school diploma, according to information from the Southeastern New England Defense Industry Alliance.

Molly Donohue Magee, executive director of SENEDIA, said the group is pleased with the number of students enrolled in the first class, and that the majority are female, as the cybersecurity workforce has traditionally been underrepresented with female workers. She said they commend the governor for her leadership in creating the P-TECH program in Rhode Island.

SENEDIA, in a news release, said the students will develop skills and experiences needed to “seamlessly transition into Rhode Island’s available jobs in the field of cybersecurity.”

“The Southeastern New England Defense Industry Alliance (SENEDIA) and our member companies understand the commitment we must make to building the pipeline of future workers and supporting the P-Tech program is an excellent way for us to do this,” she said.

SENEDIA, a nonprofit, is the industry partner for P-TECH. Over the summer, the SENEDIA team met with the P-TECH students to introduce them to the world of cybersecurity. The students heard from guest speaker Mike Carmack from Rite-Solutions in Middletown, who talked about a typical day for a cybersecurity professional.

“It wasn’t long ago that I was in school sitting in your seat. Now, a few years later, I am a cybersecurity analyst. I certainly wish there was a program like P-TECH that I could have enrolled in. Having an industry mentor would have made a world of difference,” Carmack told the students.

For information about the Newport P-TECH Cybersecurity program, or becoming a P-TECH mentor, contact Education Outreach Director Linda Larsen at (401) 418-0600 or llarsen@senedia.org. For general information about the P-Tech program, email ptech.info@commerceri.com.

All three schools involved in P-TECH were awarded $200,000 in startup funds to appoint a vice principal in charge of the program. Students who enroll in the initiative receive a specialized curriculum in high school, followed by additional education through the Community College of Rhode Island, as well as mentorship and training at a Rhode Island company.

“The program is designed to move groups of entering freshman through four, five or six years of curriculum and mentorship, with an associate’s degree and potential job opportunities” waiting at the end, according to information from the governor’s office.

Commerce RI spokesman Matt Sheaff said there has been a “significant amount of interest in the program from school districts as well as employers over the past year,” and there are plans to make additional grants to expand the program to at least two additional school districts.

The application for the next round of grants was recently released and is available at the Commerce website, he said.


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