NORWALK, CT—Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) today visited the IBM-affiliated Norwalk Early College Academy, Connecticut’s first school based on the Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) model. The new public school, which opened in August 2014, will provide students with the opportunity to earn within six years both a high school diploma and an Associate of Applied Science degree, at no cost. The program is designed to help students develop the skills needed for careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, known as STEM.

“Norwalk Early College Academy is an excellent example of what we can achieve when communities, governments and the private sector come together to invest in our future,” Himes said. “The school’s  innovative model will provide students with the education and training they need to pursue in-demand, specialized careers in fields like IT, health care and engineering. This will put young adults on a path to good-paying jobs while making sure they have the skills to adapt to the demands of an increasingly competitive economy. I commend IBM, Norwalk Community College and the Norwalk Public Schools for teaming up on this exciting new effort to help students thrive in the classroom and beyond.”

The Norwalk Early College Academy is the result of a public-private partnership with Norwalk Public Schools, Norwalk Community College and IBM. In addition to the academic portion of the P-TECH program, each participating student will be paired with a mentor from IBM. Graduates will be first in line if they choose to apply for jobs with the company after graduation. The academy’s inaugural ninth-grade class has about 90 students. The school will add one grade each year and ultimately serve grades 9 to 14. It is open to all Norwalk students and located within Norwalk High School.

The Norwalk Early College Academy is one of 27 P-TECH model schools across New York state and in Chicago. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has announced that two more P-TECH schools will open this fall in New London and Windham.