P-TECH enrollment underway for next school year

WNY P-TECH students Trevor Nelson of Frewsburg and Jordan Czak of Westfield are pictured in class.

The WNY P-TECH STEM College and Career Academy in Dunkirk is helping to fill the workforce needs in the region. Senior-level students are accruing college credit, delving deeper into their selected pathways and even earning industry jobs.

P-TECH students begin as freshmen and over the course of up to six-years work to earn both a Regents Diploma and an associate degree while preparing for a career in high-demand fields in advanced manufacturing. Enrollment of current eighth-grade students for this non-traditional pathway to college and career readiness is currently underway throughout the region.

“Our program continues to grow each year. With every new class we welcome new faces, new opportunities and new learning experiences for everyone,” said Stephen Ruszczyk, P-TECH principal. “This year we’ve seen senior-level students committing to industry internships and positions with manufacturers in our region.”

P-TECH students benefit from a project-based curriculum geared toward one of two distinct career pathways: Welding Technology or Mechanical Technology with specializations in Computer Assisted Drawing or Machine Tool Technology.

“If I were at the principal- or superintendent-level of a district I would get every one of my counselors into P-TECH,” said Chris Anson, Lakeside Precision Inc. president. “Spend a day, talk to the students and see what they’re working on. The program sells itself.”

Mr. Anson has been an advocate and P-TECH partner since the program began. Lakeside Precision Inc., a family-owned and operated manufacturing business in Dunkirk since 1963, hired P-TECH student Jordan Butterfield in the middle of his senior-level year. At P-TECH, Jordan is able to attend class for half of the day and spend the remainder of the day working for his new employer.

The idea of receiving work-related experience while continuing to earn an associate degree is what excites many of the students enrolled in P-TECH Academy. Students enrolled in the program have already earned 753 credit hours from Jamestown Community College toward their degree pathways.

“If you’re motivated to get out, get your degree and get started in a career – I don’t know why you’d be in P-TECH if you didn’t think like this,” said Jordan Butterfield. “Get your degree, start an exciting career.”

P-TECH is an all-day program housed in a newly-renovated, state of-the-art facility located at 55 East Benton St., Dunkirk. Students enrolled in P-TECH take ownership of the school and of their studies and often serve as ambassadors for the program. Scholar athletes can participate in after-school clubs and sports for their home district and they can join the P-TECH National Honor Society or Dream It Do It Club. Participating school districts provide transportation to the program daily.

Interested eighth-grade students can speak to their counselor to receive an application packet or contact P-TECH Academy directly by calling Mr. Ruszczyk at 716-672-3251, ext. 2801. Enrollment is competitive so applicants are advised to submit their applications by the May 15, 2019, deadline.