Thousands of students can earn free associate degrees under new program

State officials say 6,000 high school students from across New York will be able to earn an associate degree at no cost under a program designed to land them jobs when they graduate.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says Wednesday that 16 high schools have been selected to be part of public-private partnerships designed prepare students for high-skill jobs in technology, manufacturing and health care. The students will earn both an associate degree and a high school degree under the state's Pathways in Technology Early College High School program, or P-Tech.

â??This groundbreaking program will give students across the state the opportunity to earn a college degree without taking on significant debt from student loans while also starting on a pathway to a good-paying job when they graduate," said Cuomo. "These public-private partnerships are a model for success for our students, our employers and our regional economies.â??

Under the program, private concerns like IBM partner with community colleges like SUNY Orange and a school system, like Newburgh Enlarged City School District.

In Central New York, there is a partnership in manufacturing between the Syracuse City School District, Onondaga Community College, and Manufacturers Association of Central New York.

In the Mohawk Valley, there is a partnership in manufacturing between a regional consortium of K-12 schools, Fulton-Montgomery Community College, and 16 regional companies.

In the Southern Tier, a partnership in health technology and manufacturing exists between a regional consortium of K-12 schools led by Binghamton City School District, Broome Community College, and seven regional companies including Lockheed Martin MS2 and United Health Services Hospitals, Inc.

In the Finger Lakes, a Computer Systems Technology & Computer Information Systems partnership exists between the Rochester City School District, Monroe Community College, and a regional consortium of businesses led by Wegmans Food Markets.

Also in the Lakes is an Agri-Business and Advanced Manufacturing partnership between a regional consortium of K-12 schools, Genesee Community College, and Genesee County Economic Development Center.

A list of the 16 partnerships

statewide is available on the governor's website.