ITC Summer Bridge Programs Connect P-TECH Students with Business Partners

     Published on 8/5/15   Tagged under:    District News   

Incoming ninth graders in the ITC Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) program participated in a two-week summer bridge program, exposing them to enrichment activities and support classes to help them adjust to the rigors of high school.
Among the enrichment activities the students experienced were visits from guest speakers, including the business leaders who will act as mentors to them throughout the school year.
Company representatives from several local businesses visited ITC to work with the students on manufacturing-related projects and activities. Greg Miller, Account Manager at Liftech Equipment, said it felt good to get involved in helping the next generation of workers, noting that he was impressed with students’ group interaction skills and stage presence.
“This is an easy way for me to get involved in the process of developing the talent pool for our future,” he said. “It’s a great thing for them to have real life examples and let them see what they can do in the future.”
For student Garnet Grimm, the long-term benefits of the program are appealing. “I like programing and gaming,” he said, “So the college degree with electrical engineering really appeals to me.”
Classmate George Doebler, meanwhile, appreciated head start that the summer bridge program provided. “We have a feel for the school already,” he explained. “In elementary and middle school, we didn’t have that so we were scared starting school. But now, we know most of our teachers already, and we know each other!”
Incoming P-TECH tenth graders also participated in a similar two-week bridge program, allowing them to tour a local manufacturing facility and analyze a real-life business dilemma facing it.
At Midstate Spring in Syracuse, Operations Manager Josh Kristoff gave students a tour of the third generation family-owned facility that produces custom springs and wire forms and employs close to 50 individuals.
Student Desaree Seals liked the tour because it exposed her to a new career possibility. “It’s cool to see how springs are made,” she said. “Last year, I liked visiting places in the community to see what they made. This year, I want to develop more of an interest in the program because I’m learning neat stuff but I don’t know yet if it’s what I want to pursue.”
Also helping to expose students to various aspects of the engineering industry is the Industry Challenge, a dilemma presented to students encouraging them to think of practical solutions to challenges facing area businesses.
In this case, Midstate Spring is experiencing great growth and faces an abundance of orders to fill. The production floor is stressed with space, so it needs to be redesigned to accommodate new machines that are purchased, keeping safety as a priority and making things as efficient as possible.
After reviewing students’ ideas, Mr. Kristoff was impressed. “Some of the teams put together very impressive presentations,” he said. “This was likely the first time any of these students did a group business presentation. They arrived ready to meet the challenge head-on and I think they got a real charge out of the experience. These students are getting some great exposure to what CNY’s employers offer while building excitement and confidence along the way!”
Student Quintin Shanes said he appreciates the program for the head start it provides. “This program is a great chance to get where my dad and brothers are—they are all going into electrical engineering,” he explained. “I didn’t think it was possible to get college credits in high school, but this gives me that opportunity.”

View photos of the Summer Bridge programs by visiting our Flickr album! >>>