CCHS English teacher Madison Tortessi’s fall semester Technical Writing class can answer this wistful question with the following:
“I wrote a grant that paved the way for students behind me to focus on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), work in internships within our community to learn industry standards, and get their first two years of college paid for by the state.”
Canon City High School and its two partners, Fremont Campus-Pueblo Community College and the Fremont Economic Development Corporation’s TechSTART, have been awarded only the fourth Pathways in Technology Early College High School (PTECH) grant in the state of Colorado and are the first rural school to do so!
The PTECH grant, signed into law in 2015, creates a public-private partnership to prepare thousands of Colorado students for high-skill jobs of the future. In 2018, there will be 14 million new jobs requiring “middle skills”, suited for those with associate degrees. The highest paid of those jobs will be in STEM fields.
Yet many young adults not only lack the skills to succeed in these jobs, they fail to finish college altogether. Combined with the high school’s new Career Pathways curriculum focus, PTECH will allow our students to not only gain valuable skills in high school but also continue their education debt free through an Associate’s Degree.
Students wishing to apply for the grant must meet a limited number of requirements such as completing a series of four consecutive courses in the STEM curriculum, score a minimum grade in a math competency exam, and complete a community Capstone. The grant begins this fall with the class of 2019 student being the first to take advantage of this opportunity.
Congratulations to Lisa Downs, Kellie Jakus, Cage Shepard, Jacob Gutormson, Rita Carroll, Trent Durnen, Levi Green, Kiah Benedict, Tamara Chapman, Alycia Shipley, Johnathan Malsam and Cameron McFarland for securing such opportunities for their classmates!