“We win on both ends,” University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) President Jay A. Perman, MD, told Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and a room full of business and education leaders gathered in Annapolis on Sept. 13 to garner support for expanding the state’s Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) program.
The program focuses on science and technology and enables students to earn a two-year associate's degree at no cost along with their high school diploma. Key to the success of the program is the role of professional mentoring and internships with industry partners. UMB is partnered with the P-TECH program at Baltimore’s Paul Laurence Dunbar High School.
Perman explained that the University “wins” on the back end of the P-TECH program “as these young people become nurses and respiratory therapists and health IT people,” and added that P-TECH has given UMB a great assist on the “front end” by providing graduating West Baltimore middle schoolers a pathway to continued success. UMB currently has more than 100 students enrolled in the UMB CURE Scholars Program, which utilizes mentors and extracurricular activities to guide middle school students toward careers in research and health care.
“We need them,” Perman told the group. “We need diversity in our West Baltimore community in terms of the health care professions, that’s a national problem. And there are always jobs in health care whatever the economy is.”
“P-TECH represents an incredible partnership between our business community, our school systems, and our community colleges,” Hogan said, explaining that the program is open to all students without tests or grade requirements for admission. “The P-TECH model gives young Marylanders who otherwise might feel like they don’t have much of a hope for a better future … this gives them the opportunity to engage in an integrated education in the critical areas of science, technology, engineering, and math. Perhaps most importantly, P-TECH graduates are first in line for skilled jobs through our private sector partners.”
Businesses leaders also heard firsthand about the impact of P-TECH from Justice Heughan, a third-year student at Baltimore’s George Washington Carver Vocational-Technical High School working to earn an associate’s degree in cyber security. “I knew I’d be taught the skills I needed to get a great job,” he said. “Being able to attain my associate’s degree puts me a step ahead of other high school students, including at some of the top high schools in Maryland.”
The P-TECH program was launched in two Baltimore City schools — Dunbar and Carver — three years ago. This fall, the program has been expanded to eight schools, including schools in Allegany, Baltimore, Montgomery, and Prince George’s counties.