New Queens high school focuses on STEM careers
by Jess Berry
Aug 13, 2014 | 5009 views | 0 0 comments | 78 78 recommendations | email to a friend | print
As the need for employees to fill STEM occupations continues to increase, a new Queens school will take a creative stab at giving its students a perfect combination of education and job experience in the fields of business and technology.

Business Technology Early College High School, or BTECH, will open this fall in a section of Martin Van Buren High School in Queens Village. The school will accept ninth graders for a six-year program that graduates students with a high school diploma and an Associate’s Degree.

Currently, the school will offer degrees in computer information systems and internet technology. Down the road, they hope to add other degrees, like a business technology major.

The school was created through a partnership among the Department of Education (DOE), Queensborough Community College (QCC), the Early College Initiative at CUNY and software corporation SAP.

BTECH Principal Hoa Tu explained that the idea for the school first came about when SAP approached CUNY and the DOE, looking for a school that could test out their co-op program, which offers students paid work opportunities while they pursue higher education.

The school’s public-private model will grant students access not only to a core high school curriculum, but also to SAP mentors who will give them work experience through internships or job shadowing, as well as QCC advisors to help students prepare for further education or careers.

Tu said that BTECH will help fill the country’s existing employment gap by making students marketable, particularly because of the real-world work experience they will get before graduating.

“The country is looking at an employment gap, not because we don’t have the jobs, but because we don’t have the skilled people to fill those jobs,” Tu said. “So that’s the need, and what our school will fill is that employment gap.”

She said that the job training is “intentional and informed by the industries themselves.”

“We know from employers that they’re looking beyond just a name-brand college,” Tu said. “They’re looking for skills.”

Ultimately, the goal is for BTECH students to graduate with a direct pathway into a career.

“They will come out a bit more well-rounded, and instead of them knocking on various doors for jobs, we have the wish for them that companies will come knocking on their doors,” Tu said.

This fall, 125 students will enroll at BTECH. With ten teachers, a guidance counselor and a technology coordinator, class sizes will be no larger than 25 students. Almost all of the students currently enrolled are from Queens.

“We’re a public NYC school partnered with QCC and SAP, and we are a school for the families of Queens,” Tu said. “So come one, come all and check us out.”

Those interested in learning more about the school can check out the BTECH website, and orientation for this year’s incoming ninth graders will take place on Aug. 26 and 27.

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