By Karen Matthews
Officials from IBM, Microsoft and the software maker SAP joined New York City education officials Thursday to announce three new early-college high schools that will confer both a high school diploma and a City University of New York associate degree.
The six-year schools are designed to steer students toward specific jobs in high-demand fields.
"It is a reinvention of high school in America," said Stanley Litow, vice president of corporate citizenship for IBM, which teamed up with educators to start the first such school in 2011.
That first school, Brooklyn's Pathways in Technology Early College High School, or P-TECH, earned praise as a model of innovation from President Barack Obama in his state of the union speech in February.
Litow said IBM has promised students who complete the program that they will be "first in line" for jobs at IMB.
Two more of the six-year schools are opening next month, and the three announced Thursday will open in September 2014, bringing the total in New York City to six.
Microsoft and New York-Presbyterian Hospital will be joint industry partners in the first school, which will focus on the intersection of health care and technology.
"Getting kids prepared now is critical — prepared with a purposeful learning path," said Anthony Salcito, vice president of worldwide education at Microsoft.
Dr. Robert Kelly, president of New York-Presbyterian, said information technology will be "a game changer" for health care. He added, "The analysis of big data will allow us to predict what to do with our patients in ways that quite frankly we've been unable to do in the past."
SAP will help guide a second school featuring a computer science and business technology theme, and the third will enjoy a special relationship with the American Association of Advertising Agencies.
Nancy Hill, president of the association, known as 4A, said New York's advertising and marketing industry has close to 1,000 openings right now.
"So there's a great need for talent, and that's one of the reasons why we're willing to take this on," Hill said.
Several students from P-TECH attended the announcement of new schools at Microsoft's New York City offices.
Incoming 10th-grader Erica Wright said her freshman-year math program included algebra, geometry and trigonometry, classes that take up three years at other schools.
Erica said she was "shocked" when Obama praised P-TECH.
"All my friends and family kind of looked up to me," she said. "Because, like, OK, wow, she goes to this school. Obama mentioned it."