EQUIPPING its youth with the skills needed to keep its economic engine running smoothly, the city government of Valenzuela recently signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with IBM Phils. to integrate a Pathways in Technology Early College High Schools (P-TECH) model in its Senior High School-to-College-to-Industry Program starting Academic Year 2021-2022.
In a webinar, Aileen Judan-Jiao, president and country general manager of IBM Phils., pointed out that the partnership between the private and public sector is important, as it helps students keep abreast with the latest technology trends.
“Working within industry while learning helps students gain early exposure and credentials to be competitive in STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] and new-collar careers,” Jiao said. “[These] are some of the fastest-growing fields in technology requiring more than a high-school diploma, but not necessarily a university degree.”
“We know there is an urgent need for a sustainable pool of skilled STEM talents, which is why we’re grateful to the city government of Valenzuela for partnering with us to expand P-TECH Philippines,” the IBM executive added. “We’re also calling on more like-minded partners to join us and open doors for more students to gain the skills they will need for the jobs of the future.”
Established in 2011, P-TECH establishes a route between high school, college and career by merging the expertise of the public and private sectors to strengthen technical and professional skills in education, while reinvigorating local economies.
To date, P-TECH is present in more than 266 schools globally, and in 28 countries. More than 600 businesses in technology, health care, advanced manufacturing and other industries are currently participating as industry partners around the world.
IBM Phils. believes the program will be a big boost for Valenzuela City’s substantial number of skilled work force to sustain its vibrant local industry, with the majority of its registered businesses engaged in production and manufacturing.
The company sees P-TECH assisting the local government unit’s Senior High School-to-College-to-Industry Program in increasing its pool of skilled talents in STEM.
Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian said his office is committed to allocate funds and materials in support of the P-TECH program, and to bring partners within local industries on board.
Meanwhile, IBM Phils. will provide technical assistance and resources on the P-TECH Model to Valenzuela City stakeholders, such as in skills mapping, work-based learning, mentoring and internships. The company will also make Open P-TECH—a free online-learning platform—available to students and teachers with skills in emerging technologies and professional skills.
Moreover, Gatchalian is upbeat in seeing the partnership materialize, as it strengthens the holistic approach of the city’s existing programs in education: “IBM’s P-TECH program is strongly aligned with our Education 360-Degrees Investment Program, which aims to deliver holistic quality and inclusive education to our citizens.”
The local chief executive stated, “I am excited to see how this program will help ignite our youth’s interest in STEM, and improve our local education system’s capacities to produce much needed, job-ready talents required by industries.”
The program spans from Grades 11 to 14, with the aim of providing students with free advanced level national certification in technical vocational education and training or TVET, or with an associate’s degree in college across in-demand jobs in advanced manufacturing, packaging, electronics, automotive; or heating, ventilation, and air conditioning industries, otherwise known as HVAC.