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NYPA offers stem education, clean energy workplace skills through new P-TECH collaboration with high schools, colleges


Tue, Feb 23rd 2021 02:30 pm

Internships, STEM education support to benefit energy-interested students in Buffalo, Utica & Queens

Serving as industry partner affirms NYPA’s commitment to workforce diversity, equity and inclusion & supports statewide commitment to build pipeline of skilled workers for clean energy jobs

The New York Power Authority announced it has joined a collaboration with the nationally respected Pathways in Technology Early College High Schools program, known as P-TECH, to offer high school students workplace skills, training and the educational credentials they need to land competitive jobs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

NYPA will serve as a business partner in the public-private partnership that helps high school students who are interested in STEM careers obtain both a high school diploma and a two-year associate’s degree from a nearby college. A key component of its industry leading, organizationwide diversity, equity and inclusion plan, NYPA’s involvement affirms the commitment – announced in its “VISION2030” strategy – to encourage, create and maintain a diverse, equitable and inclusive workforce. The announcement also complements Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal in his 2021 State of the State address to expand New York’s $175 million workforce development initiative to meet emerging clean energy job demands.

“NYPA is well positioned to offer its energy and engineering expertise to help inspire our future leaders in energy, technology and science,” said Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA president and CEO. “Through our involvement in the P-TECH program, we will mentor students, host site visits and support internships. This program will help us provide a pipeline of diverse utility and clean energy workers that are skilled and career ready. As we set our sights on achieving Gov. Cuomo’s climate leadership goals, our commitment to STEM education is vital. By enhancing student awareness of technology and innovation, we will inspire and train the next generation of clean energy leaders.”

SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras said, “SUNY is proud to be a partner in the New York state P-TECH network, where K-12 schools, BOCES, colleges and universities, and industry leaders like NYPA collaborate to help students graduate from high school and college prepared for high-demand jobs in regional and global industries. Our students in P-TECH programs at Erie Community College and Mohawk Valley Community College will have unparalleled opportunities to study and train with NYPA to develop technical skills and competencies that will put them first-in-line for jobs and career opportunities in hydropower, natural gas, transmission development, and more. I thank the leadership teams at Erie Community College and Mohawk Valley Community College for providing their students with pathways to careers through this partnership – P-TECH’s education model is exactly what is needed to drive economic recovery and growth post COVID-19.”

P-TECH’s integrated curriculum brings together an industry partner, in this case NYPA, with a high school and local community college to educate students and ensure they have the skills required to enter the workforce after graduation. NYPA said it hopes the partnership will be a first step in forming a statewide P-TECH coalition that involves its customers including local governments, its economic development business partners, vendors, contractors and other clean energy companies the Power Authority works with to expand career opportunities for students across the state.

NYPA will offer mentorships and internships to students, provide curriculum support and site visits, participate on the schools’ steering committees, and find ways to involve students at its facilities. It is anticipated 15 internships will be offered during the summer, with the number growing to 100 over five years.

WNY, Mohawk Valley, and NYC Programs Train Students for Clean Energy Jobs

NYPA is finalizing agreements with three high schools in the Mohawk Valley, Western New York and New York City. Working with a local college, the school and industry partner collaborate on all aspects of the program. At present, the P-TECH program staff is focusing on:

√ Western New York – Partnering with Be Solar P-TECH and Erie Community College (SUNY) to bring programs to the Buffalo/Niagara area. Be Solar’s areas of interest include computers and electronics.

√ Mohawk Valley – Partnering with Oneida-Herkimer-Madison Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) P-TECH and Mohawk Valley Community College (SUNY) to bring energy-related academic tracks to the Utica area. OHM BOCES P-TECH areas of interest include electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and cyber security.

√ Queens/New York City – Partnering with Energy Tech High School and LaGuardia Community College (CUNY) in Long Island City, Queens, to enhance students’ exploration of the energy technology field. Energy Tech’s areas of interest include electrical and mechanical engineering.

 The initiative is part of NYPA’s environmental justice STEM program, which provides educational resources to students from underrepresented communities in close proximity to NYPA’s statewide power generation and transmission assets.

“Young people are the leaders of tomorrow,” said Lisa Payne Wansley, NYPA’s vice president of environmental justice. “Through this P-TECH and NYPA collaboration, we will give young people of color and from underserved communities an opportunity to become involved in, and indeed to lead, our transformation to a clean energy economy here in New York state.”

First launched by IBM in 2011, the P-TECH public education model has been adopted in 240 schools across 28 countries with more than 150,000 students and 600 corporate partners.

The program combines rigorous coursework with workplace experiences that include industry mentoring, worksite visits and paid internships. The primary goal of P-TECH is to provide a high-quality STEM education and career preparation for all students. There is open enrollment and no cost to students and their families. Program partners support the students all the way through to the successful completion of an associate’s degree – and studies show P-TECH students finish their associate’s within two years at four times the rate of their peers. Many students continue on to pursue a four-year degree.

Justina Nixon-Saintil, VP and global head, IBM corporate social responsibility, said, "The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in record high unemployment and has further widened the skills gap. Working together with P-TECH industry partners like NYPA is important because it provides students with early workplace learning exposure like internships to help grow a new generation of leaders who really understand environmental challenges and pursue careers in sustainability."

P-TECH OHM Principal Erica Schoff said, “We are excited for this unique opportunity to partner with the nation’s largest state public power organization, NYPA. Business and industry partners play such a vital role in the P-TECH education model by providing authentic and meaningful experiences in fields that students have an interest in. We know that the new insights and knowledge provided through this partnership will open up an even wider array of education and career possibilities to students in our program.”

For more information about NYPA’s P-TECH program, email [email protected].

For more information on NYPA, visit www.nypa.gov.

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