P-Tech re­vo­lu­tion­izes the struc­ture of high school by en­cour­aging stu­dents to attend the school for grades 9 through 14. This es­sen­tially ex­tends high school in­to the early years of col­lege. Over those six years, the goal is for stu­dents to com­plete both a high-school dip­loma and an as­so­ci­ate’s de­gree. Gradu­ates can either enter the work­force equipped with a post­sec­ond­ary de­gree—no tu­ition, so no stu­dent debt—or con­tin­ue on to a tra­di­tion­al col­lege with a bevy of class credits in hand.

Stan Litow is IBM’s vice pres­id­ent of cor­por­ate cit­izen­ship and cor­por­ate af­fairs—and a former deputy chan­cel­lor of New York City pub­lic schools—who was intimately in­volved with the found­ing of P-Tech. “The idea of get­ting in­to the work­force with just a high-school dip­loma is an idea from the past,” he says now. “We needed to come up with a new mod­el.”

The one in Brook­lyn in­volves an in­tens­ive part­ner­ship with a big busi­ness. IBM helped design the school and con­tin­ues to provide P-Tech stu­dents with ment­ors, in­tern­ships, a ded­ic­ated staff per­son, and count­less hours of pro bono work—an in­vest­ment that Litow fig­ures is worth $1 mil­lion to $2 mil­lion a year. All P-Tech gradu­ates are first in line for avail­able jobs at IBM that fit their skill level.