(Jan. 12) – Legislation sponsored by Majority Leader Crisanta Duran, D-Denver, has given the green light to two new “Pathways in Technology Early College” (P-TECH) schools, the first of their kind in Colorado. The Colorado Department of Higher Education and the Colorado Department of Education announced today that they had approved and selected the two new programs. “We saw the opportunity to bring an innovative educational concept to Colorado,” Rep. Duran said. “P-TECH schools deliver exactly what Colorado needs. I’m excited to see the first two P-TECH schools get the green light.” Rep. Duran crafted the legislation along with Rep. Mike Foote, D-Lafayette; Sen. Nancy Todd, D-Aurora; and Sen. Laura Woods, R-Arvada. The legislation was a piece of the 2015 Colorado Ready to Work package. P-TECH schools are public six-year high schools where students can attain an Associate of Applied Science, as well as a high school diploma. In just five years, over 70 percent of jobs in Colorado will require some form of post-secondary education. The schools are a prime example of successful partnerships with the business community to provide the appropriate training for the high-paying careers available in Colorado. The schools are operated as a partnership between a school district, community college, and employer, and offer an education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses. They must provide students with mentoring, internship, pre-apprenticeship, and other workplace educational experiences. The approved schools are a partnership between the following: · St. Vrain Valley School District, Front Range Community College, and IBM · Falcon School District 49, James Irwin Charter School, Pikes Peak Community College, Bal Seal Engineering, and Housing and Building Association of Colorado Springs The schools are expected to open in fall 2016 and will serve approximately 200 students.