A new pilot program will help up to 80 students get ready for careers in Nova Scotia’s growing technology sector.The province, IBM, and Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) are partnering to offer the Technology Advantage Program inspired by IBM’s Pathways in Technology Early College High School, known as the P-TECH model. “Creating opportunities for young people to see a future for themselves in Nova Scotia is an important priority for government,” said Premier Stephen McNeil. “This new and unique program will help address future labour market needs in our province’s growing technology sector. The six-year program is open to students who attend one of the junior high schools that feed into Cole Harbour District High School, J.L. Ilsley High School and Yarmouth Consolidated Memorial High School. Students will be in the program from grades 9 to 12, then move on to the Nova Scotia Community College, where they will work toward a two-year technology diploma. Government will cover tuition costs. “We are designing programs and opportunities to fit student needs and help them succeed,” said Zach Churchill, Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development. “This is a great example and I’m excited to partner with IBM and NSCC to help students get ready for careers in a sector where there is need and opportunity.” P-TECH was created in 2011, and it opens new pathways by creating a direct connection between high school, college and career. By the end of 2019, the model will be in more than 200 schools across 14 countries. Early results in the United States show increasing graduation rates and employment. Students in the Nova Scotia program will have access to a range of workplace experiences that include mentorship opportunities, internships and co-operative education placement, in addition to classroom learning. Upon graduation, students will be guaranteed interviews for available IBM jobs. “As business, government and education leaders, we all have a role to play to prepare our students for the new technology-driven opportunities of the future,” said Ayman Antoun, president, IBM Canada. “The skills gap is mounting as new technologies transform industries and jobs. “The IBM P-TECH education model is all about preparing the next generation of our workforce and providing new pathways for young people to be successful.” The pilot program will launch in September. Families of students eligible to take part in the pilot will receive more information in the coming weeks. Government will invest an initial $2 million this year to start the program.