By: Priscilla Lombardi

September 12, 2014

Connecticut’s first P-Tech School has officially opened in Norwalk.

“On behalf of all NECA scholars we would like to introduce you to NECA.”

Governor Dannel Malloy joined teachers, students and local dignitaries at Norwalk High School for (NECA) Norwalk Early College Academy’s official inaugural event.

“Giving students and parents an option is a great thing to do,” said Malloy. “It grabs a student’s excitement, it allows them to pay attention to the subjects that are most exciting and most invigorating to them and I can’t think of a model that’s better at doing that then P-Tech and I can’t think of a better place to begin this program than Norwalk.”

NECA, Norwalk Early College Academy is a collaboration with Norwalk High School, Norwalk Community College and IBM, serving students from grades 9 through 14.

“I am a NECA scholar. I hope you enjoy your time at NECA,” said one student.

Students graduating NECA will obtain a high school diploma, an associates degree, and paid internships with IBM.

“I chose to attend NECA because I’m working towards getting my associates degree in engineering,” said another student.

“These students are actually Norwalk Community College students as first semester freshman,” said Norwalk Community College President Dr. David L. Levinson. “And this is the first time in the history, as I understand it, of the nation that we have 9th grade students, first semester, taking a college course.”

“We will only be successful as a company if we get the right talent to come to work for us and we can’t sit back and wait and hope that people are going to be graduated with the kind of skills to have the kind of jobs that we would like to offer them,” said IBM Vice President of Corporate Citizenship, Stanley Litow. “We need to step up to the plate and help out in that process and we need to make sure that students graduate with those skills.”

There are currently 90 students enrolled in NECA. Since the academy’s announcement in April it has received much support, including a $100,000 grant from First Niagara Bank.

“We created two contributions, which are going to support the NECA effort,” said First Niagara Bank Tri-State Regional President Cathie Schaffer. “We are really thrilled to be a part of it. This is clearly a very key initiative for the state and the county and the school and we’re really looking forward to seeing what happens in the future with this.”