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Cuomo unveils public-private partnership with IBM

STEPHON JOHNSON Amsterdam News Staff | 3/21/2013, 4:23 p.m.
With "public-private partnerships" being the new buzz term in New York, it was only a...
Cuomo unveils public-private partnership with IBM

With "public-private partnerships" being the new buzz term in New York, it was only a matter of time before New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo got involved.

Cuomo and IBM recently announced a public-private partnership with the goal of preparing kids for high-skilled jobs like technology, manufacturing, health care and finance. In addition, IBM and other companies that participate in the partnership plan on putting the students in the program first in line for jobs. Cuomo announced the partnership as part of his 2013-2014 Executive Budget. According to Cuomo's spokespeople, the partnership builds on the success of IBM's Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) in New York City.

Cuomo said that direct connection with companies that look for high-skilled laborers could be the key to a better relationship between them and the communities they serve.

"One of New York's greatest resources and economic drivers is our education system, but we must ensure that our schools are adequately equipped to train students for the high-tech jobs of tomorrow," said Cuomo. "This partnership with IBM will better enable the state to invest in selected school districts throughout the state and prepare students, starting in high school, for high-skill jobs in fields such as manufacturing, technology, finance and health care.

"Linking our secondary and higher education institutions to the economic development of the region is a logical connection that will greatly improve our work force and help students find jobs directly out of college," said Cuomo. "I thank IBM for partnering with the state as we work to build a new New York."

The governor's Executive Budget proposal includes a $4 million increase for the Early College High School program (ECHS), which will fund this public-private partnership program, as well as additional traditional ECHS programs throughout the state.

Stanley Litow, vice president of corporate citizenship and corporate affairs at IBM, said that this partnership is the perfect alignment between the city's needs and private company needs when considering the current "skills crisis."

"Education is key to America's economic growth and competitiveness. IBM is pleased to be working with New York state, its businesses and its educators to provide students with the deep knowledge, skills and education needed to prepare students for 21st century jobs in areas like analytics and big data," said Litow.

Ten schools will participate in this new program that will operate over a six-year span from middle school to the end of high school. Students who participate will have the chance to graduate with an associate's degree with the goal of having students prepared for STEM-related (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers. The partnership will help participating high school and college students with guidance on workplace learning, including skills mapping, curriculum, mentoring, worksite visits and internships.

Dick Parsons, chair of the New NY Education Commission and Senior Advisor at Providence Equity Partners LLC, thinks Cuomo has found the way to educational improvement in New York state.

"Governor Cuomo recognizes that quality education is a game changer for New York's students and New York's economy. By expanding the P-TECH model across the Ssate, as recommended by the New NY Education Reform Commission, Governor Cuomo and IBM will add fuel to local economies and businesses, while also providing innovative models of education reform that our public school system needs," said Parsons.