How IBM will push Austin high schoolers into computer science careers

Austin Business Journal: How IBM will push Austin high schoolers into computer science careers

By Will Anderson  – Digital Editor, Austin Business Journal

IBM Corp. wants to connect students at an East Austin high school to the lucrative field of computer science.

Big Blue is launching its Pathways to Technology Early College High School program (P-TECH) in fall 2019 at Lanier High School, through a partnership with Austin Independent School District and Austin Community College.

Students will take classes at Lanier, visit IBM's Austin campus and receive mentorship from employees, according to a Wednesday announcement. They can also apply for paid internships with the company and will be guaranteed at least an interview for a job at IBM.

And, because of the partnership with ACC, students can graduate from high school with an associate's degree.

IBM came up with P-TECH program and said there could be 40 such campuses in public schools around Texas "in the near future."

Texas is in dire need of more students skilled in science, technology, engineering and math — or STEM. About 33 percent of the state's eight-grade students are "proficient" in math, and 76 percent have a basic grasp of math, according to a 2018 assessment from the National Center for Education Statistics cited by IBM.

Those STEM skills are in high demand, especially as companies such as IBM, Inc., Google Inc. and others grow their presence in the Texas capital.

The first P-TECH campus opened in Brooklyn, New York, in 2011. IBM said more than half of graduates earned both a high school degree and an associate's degree in information technology in six years or less.

Lanier, on Payton Gin Road in North Austin between U.S. Highway 183 and I-35, is in a ZIP code with a median household income of $44,476, compared with the citywide median household income of $55,216.

The P-TECH program gives "disadvantaged kids a good shot at the middle class" through computer science education, IBM announced.


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