Today, Staten Island University Hospital (a member of Northwell Health), Sun River Health, College of Staten Island/CUNY (CSI/CUNY), and Port Richmond High School (PRHS) signed a memorandum of understanding to formally establish the very first “Grades 9-14 Pathways to Technology Early College High School” (P-Tech) program on Staten Island. With Staten Island University Hospital (SIUH) and Sun River Health now officially part of the partnership, Port Richmond students can look forward to paid internship opportunities, mentorship programs, and a range of viable career pathways that will become available to them in the booming healthcare and technology sectors.
“P-Tech at Port Richmond is finally signed, sealed, and delivered!” said Borough President James Oddo. “Bringing the first P-Tech program to Staten Island took a great deal of work by the Borough Hall team, DOE, and our partners—and there was no shortage of seemingly insurmountable obstacles along the way. But in the end, we have put together a dynamic, multi-career program that exceeded even our most ambitious expectations.”
The Borough President continued, “Northwell Health and Sun River Health, two major players in the healthcare space with an already strong presence on Staten Island, have stepped up yet again to make a positive, generational impact on Staten Island. Their signatures on that MOU demonstrate just how much they believe in the students at Port Richmond High School. They deserve our thanks and gratitude, as does former DOE Chancellor Carranza who kept his promise that Staten Island will no longer be the only borough without the innovative P-Tech model.”
Borough President Oddo initiated an aggressive advocacy effort to bring the innovative six-year high school to Staten Island in 2018—and after securing a commitment from Chancellor Carranza to create a program, his Borough Hall team worked tirelessly to recruit the right industry partners. P-Tech students have the unique opportunity to earn a tuition-free associate degree from CSI/CUNY and get critical hands-on work experience from the participating industry partners. SIUH and Sun River completed the P-Tech partnership today by signing on to provide students with career-focused learning activities including workplace visits, interview and resume workshops, mentoring, and paid internships. Students who successfully complete the program will be first in line to interview for relevant, open positions at SIUH and Sun River.
Sun River and SIUH each have close, working relationships with PRHS and deep roots in the Port Richmond community. With this collaboration, they hope to build a talent pipeline for hard-to-fill, in-demand roles at their respective organizations. That pipeline will feature jobs at the intersection of healthcare and technology as well as other positions where demand for qualified talent is projected to exceed supply.
According to the Labor Department, the healthcare and high-tech sectors are projected to create the most jobs over the next decade. Employment in healthcare occupations is projected to grow 15% and 12.1%. in computer-related occupations—significantly outpacing the 3.7% projected job growth across all sectors. With 78% of Port Richmond students categorized as economically disadvantaged, the P-Tech program has the potential to propel participants into the middle class (and beyond) by equipping them with the skills and resources necessary to begin careers in these sustainable, resilient, and lucrative industries.
“Partnerships like P-Tech are really where the term “dollars and sense” comes into play,” said Dr. Brahim Ardolic, Executive Director of Staten Island University Hospital. “You make an investment to earn dividends and when that dividend is an opportunity for a young person—there’s no greater return on investment. As a student who went through the public education system on Staten Island and now works to improve health in my community, I know for a fact education leads to better health and better health equity, and economic opportunity for all.”
Diane Arneth, Chief Community Services Officer, Sun River Health and CHASI Executive Director said, “Sun River and Community Health Action are fully committed to bringing our experience and expertise in community-based healthcare and services to this partnership. We are excited to partner with Port Richmond HS, CSI, and SIUH/Northwell to offer these students this rich opportunity to explore and launch careers in healthcare, with the supports needed to ensure success.”
A recent study of the P-Tech model published by MDRC, an education and social policy research organization, found that P-Tech students earn more college credits and score higher on regents exams than their peers. Most impressively, P-Tech students who entered the program with poor academic outcomes in 8th grade, were successful in reaching critical academic milestones.
“I’m so excited for the countless students on Staten Island who will gain rigorous career-oriented instruction and a path to a free associate’s degree through this new P-TECH program. I’m grateful to Borough President Oddo, CUNY’s College of Staten Island, and our new industry partners, Northwell Health and Sun River Health, for their collaboration and advocacy to expand early college and career opportunities for our young people,” said Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter.
Currently, there are already two classes in the P-Tech program at PRHS. The first class, which started in the 2020-2021 school year, will now have the opportunity to engage with the SIUH and Sun River as juniors next fall.
“I can’t begin to express how excited and thankful I am for this amazing program and the opportunity being offered to our students,” said Port Richmond HS Principal Andrew Greenfield. “I’d like to thank Borough President Oddo, School’s Chancellor Porter, District 31 Superintendent Wilson, the DOE’s Office of Post-Secondary Readiness, CUNY, and the College of Staten Island for making this possible. The students of Port Richmond will not only have the opportunity to earn a free associate’s degree from the College of Staten Island but even more exciting are the two incredible partnerships with Northwell Health and Sun River Health that will result in ‘real-world’ training and experience that will enable our students with skills that will follow them for years to come.”
CSI/CUNY has agreed to expand its degree offerings to P-Tech students in order to accommodate a diverse range of career pathways available in healthcare and tech. Port Richmond students in the program can now earn an associate degree in Computer Technology (AAS) or Liberal Arts and Sciences (AS).
“Having an opportunity to partner with our community, educational, and corporate partners to make P-Tech a reality is a tremendous step forward for these cohorts of students, building a bridge to our campus and the professional opportunities that will be made available to them by the program,” said College of Staten Island President William J. Fritz. “This collaboration is another example of the heavy investment the College of Staten Island is making with dynamic students in our borough who will serve as future industry leaders. This partnership allows us to continue our longstanding borough stewardship, academic excellence, and the pursuit of a college degree after high school.”
About Staten Island Borough President
The Office of the Borough President has a responsibility to advocate for the entire Borough of Staten Island and all its residents, and represents the Borough’s interests within City government. The Borough President communicates directly with the Mayor and the City Council to emphasize Staten Island’s budget priorities, and monitors the delivery of city services on Staten Island, acting as a liaison between residents and city agencies when problems arise to devise solutions. In addition, the Borough President is responsible for reviewing major land use decisions and proposing sites for city facilities within the Borough. The office also houses the Borough’s Topographical Bureau, which maintains the Borough’s official maps and assigns street addresses. The Borough President is also responsible for appointing one member to the Panel for Educational Policy and one member to the City Planning Commission, as well as some 150 members to Staten Island’s three community boards.
About Sun River Health
Founded over 40 years ago as a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC,) Sun River Health is one of the nation’s largest community health providers with a network of 43 health centers throughout the Hudson Valley, New York City, and Long Island. As of today, more than 245,000 patients count on Sun River Health to get the care they need and the respect they deserve. Joining Sun River Health’s network in 2018 as a community-based affiliate, Community Health Action of Staten Island has provided health-related outreach, education, prevention, and direct services on Staten Island for over 30 years. With a focus on those most impacted by health disparities and through a social justice lens, CHASI works within and with communities to drive dramatic improvements in health for over 22,000 Staten Islanders annually.
About Staten University Hospital
With two campuses and 668 beds, Staten Island University Hospital is the borough’s major teaching hospital and one of the New York metropolitan area’s largest. After 155 years, we continue to earn public and peer recognition for quality care.
We’re also Staten Island’s largest employer with 7,000 positions. Our medical/dental staff comprises more than 1,000 physicians and dentists who practice in over 40 medical, surgical and dental specialties and subspecialties and in a growing number of centers of care. As part of Northwell Health, we have access to the vast resources of New York’s largest health system, while remaining firmly entrenched and engaged in our local community.
About College of Staten Island/CUNY
The College of Staten Island is a four-year, senior college of The City University of New York that offers exceptional opportunities to all of its students. Programs in the liberal arts and sciences and professional studies are offered that lead to associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees. Doctoral degrees are offered at the College or jointly with The Graduate Center of The City University of New York. The College also has an extensive Continuing Education program, offering professional certificate programs. The College’s 204-acre campus is the largest site for a college in New York City and includes state-of-the-art classrooms, laboratories, studios, and offices in two academic quadrangles, and is home to the CUNY Interdisciplinary High-Performance Computing Center. Other noteworthy facilities include the Astrophysical Observatory, the Biological Sciences and Chemical Sciences Building, the Center for the Arts, the Sports and Recreation Center, and the Library. The College opened its first student residence halls in fall 2013.
Three of CSI’s more recent facilities are CSI St. George, which offers college-level instruction to approximately 18,000 college-ready residents in the area, the CSI Tech Incubator, which offers assistance to budding entrepreneurs on the Island, and the Con Edison Trading Room, a state-of-the-art facility that gives students access to business and finance tools in a simulated real-world setting. As the second-largest employer on Staten Island, the College continues to provide a significant economic and social impact to the Borough, making it an anchor institution in Staten Island, and New York City. The College has received national recognition celebrating our excellence and value from Washington Monthly, Forbes, Money magazine, U.S. News & World Report, G.I. Jobs, PayScale College Salary Report, CollegeNET, Business Insider, and TIME magazine.
By David Pizzuto