Blog post by Christine Ross
Christine Ross, the president and CEO of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce, has 20 years of leadership experience in the business community. She is a visionary coalition builder guiding the Maryland Chamber’s efforts to improve competitiveness, attract and retain talent, grow jobs, engage the community and provide legislative advocacy.
During the 2019 legislative session, the Maryland Chamber of Commerce supported House Bill 440, which allows for three new P-TECH schools to be built in Maryland. P-TECH students earn their high school diploma as well as an industry recognized two-year post secondary degree, all within a six-year time frame and at no cost. This innovative program pairs each student with a mentor and focuses on ensuring the students have the technology industry skills they need to succeed after graduation. P-TECH students have access to internships and are first in line for jobs at companies who are P-TECH partners. The Maryland Chamber proudly boasts 10 members who are P-TECH partners: Alban CAT; Community College of Baltimore City; Dataprise, Inc.; Johns Hopkins University; Kaiser Permanente; KCI Technologies, Inc.; Marriott International; Stanley Black & Decker; University of Maryland-Baltimore; and Whiting-Turner Contracting Co.
P-TECH is an inclusive program, greatly benefiting communities where students have additional barriers to access quality workforce development and talent pipeline opportunities. Through P-TECH, students are better prepared for in-demand positions, have increased economic opportunities, and access to workforce development, creating a positive impact on the communities.
A key aspect of the P-TECH program is pairing students with professional mentors in the industry who encourage and guide them through the program, prioritizing building a relationship with their student and equipping them with necessary workplace learning. The role of the mentors is to teach required workplace skills, such as leadership and teamwork, communication, and ethics. Mentors use the relationship they have built with their student to establish problem-solving skills through project-based learning, as well as utilizing traditional mentoring conversations. These mentor relationships are advantageous networking opportunities for P-TECH students after graduation.
We at the Maryland Chamber support legislation for the P-TECH programs because we feel a skilled talent pipeline makes Maryland a better place to live and work, improving our communities, which, in turn, makes Maryland a better place to do business.
To read more about our involvement with P-TECH, visit: https://mdchamber.org/p-tech/