P-TECH is committed to equity and racial justice

P-TECH was founded to serve young people who have historically and consistently been denied access to equitable education and economic opportunity.  P-TECH reimagines what school can be by combining education and workforce development. We are committed to empowering all young people, regardless of their backgrounds, with relevant skills and credentials that are essential to enabling them to reach their full potential.  Our mission is to break the cycle of poverty in families and communities, and to create thriving, diverse and inclusive economies.

In spite of these efforts, we know some of our students face an uphill battle due to discrimination. The recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and far too many others have brought to the surface something we in the P-TECH community have known since our inception – racism still exists in 21st Century America.  Despite their skills, talents, and the credentials they earn, our Black students may face closed doors, glass ceilings and far worse. In the face of these challenges, we understand “Black Lives Matter” is a principled belief in humanity, and a declaration that Black students often deserve far better than our social institutions provide or governing systems allow.

Society is now faced with critical decisions of whether to systematically improve the quality of life and opportunities for Black students and other marginalized young people, or be complicit with the status quo. We are choosing to take a stand.

Our work with PTECH has highlighted the importance of uniting the expertise of the public and private sectors to drive change.  At every P-TECH school, educators and industry professionals are working hand-in-hand to provide students with rigorous and engaging high school and college coursework, with individualized social and emotional supports, and meaningful workplace experiences that not only hone skills but also build the social networks critical to accessing good jobs.  Students earn academic and technical acumen, and importantly, the skills to persist through challenges, to self-advocate, and to express themselves confidently and courageously.

As global leaders in education, we understand racism is not only a U.S. disease, but a phenomenon present in societies throughout the world. Although we have worked tirelessly to provide the opportunity of P-TECH to students from diverse backgrounds across 24 countries, we know we must do more.

We, the leaders of P-TECH, understand the gravity and power that P-TECH has to reform education and offer opportunities for students who are commonly left out of the economic fold. Our commitment to expanding our work is deeply rooted in impacting greater numbers of young people here in the United States and globally, to strategically lift up and promote the students in those communities who have been left behind by racism and inequity. Doing so will require all of us – government officials, school leaders, teachers, college faculty, industry professionals and more – collaborating more closely than ever to make sure the voices of our students are heard.

Exercising accountability is what you can do within our schools. Calling out racism and correcting inequities is the responsibility of every person who serves our students. Who we are as people is a testament to our commitment; and as a teacher, principal or even parent, we must uphold principals of progress and provide all students with a fair chance in life.  Within our schools, as we teach students technical skills to prepare them for 21st century careers, we must also employ culturally relevant pedagogies that allow them to become empowered learners and pedagogues to examine their own prejudices.

Within our industry partners, we invite you to invest in robust diversity and inclusion efforts that drive success. As partners we know that educating students to enter workplaces that are ill-prepared to receive them is the antithesis of innovation.

Within our network, we ask that you share best practices in ensuring we are doing our part, to the fullest, to fight racism and power structures that hold people down and back. We also ask that you recognize the humanity in each other on a personal level and reach out to one another for help and understanding. Let us be the model for society to mirror and grow.

Outside our network, we ask that you share data to demonstrate the power of the P-TECH model.  And we ask you to reach out to government officials in your state, region or country who have the influence and control to make tangible institutional changes and encourage them to advance the policies that make P-TECH schools possible.

We thank you for the important and tireless work you do. As a network, we will educate and empower our students, our employees and our stakeholder to shape a more just and equitable future by standing firm behind our commitment to breaking the cycle of poverty and creating a conscious society that honors diversity and inclusion.