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The Institute of Technology at Syracuse Central

Background

The Institute of Technology at Syracuse Central (ITC) is a public school in the heart of Syracuse, NY. ITC is located on two campuses for high school and college and collaborates with Onondaga Community College since its inception in September 2014. ITC P-TECH offers two main college pathways – electrical technology and mechanical technology. Students learn the foundational components of engineering in these programs – from electronics and industrial control to computer drafting and manufacturing. For the student workplace learning experience, ITC also works with the Manufacturers Association of Central New York (MACNY) and other local industries to provide mentoring, job shadowing, internships, and hiring post-graduation.

Approach

The goal of the case study is to provide an example of the P-TECH model outside of the IBM industry partner context. Over several months, IBM worked in partnership with ITC to take a deep dive into understanding the implementation of the P-TECH model. ITC provided nonidentifiable student-level data with key academic metrics by academic year. Additionally, IBM interviewed eight individuals representing different parts of the P-TECH model – from students or alumni to industry partner representatives.

Results

ITC P-TECH has excelled in being agile to the needs of their community and students in the program. In their first years of implementing the P-TECH model, they have made changes and continue to do so as they have ongoing partnership conversations and feedback from their stakeholders. ITC takes pride in experimenting and making the best of what they have to ensure students can have a valuable experience that they can take with them for years to come.
 
In a program built from the ground up, the first cohort has an incredible retention rate of 81% in four years and 79% for six years. However, only seven students (14%) in the cohort graduated with both their high school diploma and AAS degree. With these achievements, there is also an impressive number of students who graduated with college credits. About half of the high school graduates earned between 9 – 12 credits (almost one full-time semester’s worth). The other half of students earned up to a year or more in college credits, giving them a great advantage for continuing higher education. Students who earn college credits before enrolling in higher education, or earn at least 15 credits in their first year, are more likely to earn their degree – this is a key indicator of academic momentum 1.  After completing the program, almost a quarter of graduates went to work directly after high school at companies including Dupli Graphics, Nucore Steel, TTM Technologies, and United Radio. Most graduates chose to continue their higher education. 
From interviews with educators, students, alumni, and industry partner professionals, lessons were learned on implementing the P-TECH model best. Individuals reflected on how important it was to have consistent communication between partners to provide the best structure and resources for students’ success. Others spoke about the various ways small local businesses can adapt the model and have a lasting impact on students’ workplace learning development. Additionally, others mentioned how P-TECH has an impact on more than just the student, but also the industry professionals that work with the students.
1. On academic momentum. Source: Adelman, C. (2006). The Toolbox Revisited: Paths to Degree Completion From High School Through College. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved from www2.ed.gov/rschstat/research/pubs/toolboxrevisit/toolbox.pdf 

Resources