P-TECH Profile: William DeJesus
Published on 1/2/19
District News ITC
This story was provided courtesy of Roger Mirabito, Communications Coordinator at Onondaga Community College
The Syracuse City School District and Onondaga Community College’s P-TECH program has worked out better than William DeJesus could have imagined. He’s found his passion and had the opportunity to go to the White House to talk about it. “I know I made the right decision. This program set me on a path going in one direction,” he said.
DeJesus began taking P-TECH classes at OCC two years ago when he was a junior at the Institute of Technology at Syracuse Central (ITC). P-TECH stands for Pathways in Technology Early College High School. The program helps high school students earn valuable credits toward an associate degree while partnering with industry leaders. P-TECH students can pursue a degree in either Electrical Engineering Technology or Mechanical Technology. “I was nervous when I started coming to OCC. I wondered how I was going to manage classes at two different places. But with all of the support of the professors here and the support at the high school I was able to do it.”
In June 2018, DeJesus was a member of the first graduating class of the P-TECH program at ITC. A few weeks after commencement, he and two other students participated in a roundtable discussion at the school on education and workforce development. White House adviser Ivanka Trump participated in the discussion and was so impressed with the students she invited them to Washington for a jobs-related bill signing ceremony two weeks later. “It was a phenomenal experience. Being in that room where so many famous people had been before us, you got a chill going through you.” DeJesus took advantage of the setting, networking with CEO’s from IBM, FedEx and Wal-Mart and exchanging contact information with them.
DeJesus also received three job offers during the summer but made the decision to continue his education full-time at OCC. Thanks to the 32 college credits he amassed while attending ITC, he will earn his associate degree in Mechanical Technology in May. “The P-TECH program has opened up so many opportunities for me. In my family I’m the first person to go to college.”
The P-TECH program is continuing to present opportunities for all who follow DeJesus. Nearly 100 high school students are taking classes at OCC as part of P-TECH in the following majors: Clinical Laboratory Technology, Computer Information Systems, Drone Technology, Electrical Technology, Health Information Technology and Mechanical Technology.