“Star-Fleet” style P-TECH Academy launched in Kingston

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KINGSTON – Ranking officials and educators gathered Tuesday at SUNY Ulster’s Kingston Center campus, to mark the launch of Hudson Valley Pathways Academy (HVPA).
The program, administered through BOCES, allows high school students to earn college credit, while simultaneously interning with regional industry.
It is the first program of its kind in New York to be held on a college campus. The other 32 similar programs statewide, called P-TECH (Pathways in Technology Early College High School), are held inside high schools.
While not quite yet Star Fleet Academy, program creators predicted that future HVPA graduates would be the leaders who achieve innovations that today are still unimaginable.

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul with students and officials

“It is real-life learning,” said Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul, who toured the facilities.  “That is what the innovation economy demands.
Hochul said that 65 percent of kids sitting in grade school today will have jobs not invented yet. “I’m looking at the kids upstairs; they might be the ones inventing the jobs for their classmates.”  
“We recognize [P-TECH] truly is what matters in the world today,” agreed Johanna Duncan-Poitier is the senior vice chancellor for Community Colleges and the Education Pipeline for SUNY. “So many things, that we can’t even imagine, are going to be part of our reality tomorrow.”  
“It’s a project-based 21st Century curriculum for students who think, work, and learn different than students ever have in the past,” observed Kingston School Superintendent Paul Padalino. “This program provides that curriculum for them.”
“Our students integrate with the workforce, from day one, and it’s not at the surface level,” said Dr. Jonah Schenker, HVPA principal. All students complete 12-16 one-month-long challenges, each with a different industry partner, over two years.
Schenker said the results are amazing. “They learn how to talk, how to shake hands, how to network, all of those things that we don’t teach in school, they’re getting, so that’s a beautiful thing.”   
HV Pathways partnership sprang from STRIVE, an initiative spearheaded
by Ulster County Executive Michael Hein, re-purposing government buildings
into more efficient utilizations. Kingston Center for SUNY Ulster got
resurrected through STRIVE, from the abandoned Sofie Finn Elementary School,
resulting in a thriving urban campus, building tomorrow’s workforce.
“We have a great community, who understood how important it was to provide access to higher education to everybody,” Hein said. “This building, we thought, could be a key in that process.”
Statistically, 98 percent of secondary students with concurrent college classes graduate. And 70 percent of all new jobs in New York are estimated to require a post-secondary degree.
Council of Industry Executive Vice President Harold King said that a skilled and motivated workforce is essential to local manufacturers. “The skills gap we’ve been hearing about is real, and the problem is getting more acute in this region, as the workforce gets older, and technology becomes more important,” King said.