Queensborough Community College (CUNY)

Queensborough Community College (CUNY)

Early College Initiative (ECI)

Queensborough has partnered with the Department of Education (DOE) and the multinational software corporation SAP, to develop an Early College Initiative (ECI) High School in Business Technology . The school will be located in a public school building in Queens.

This is a very exciting project that promises to provide high school students interested in Business Technology with the opportunity to participate in a program that will help them successfully transition from high school to college to challenging 21st century careers. The initiative reflects President Obama’s remarks in the State of the Union Address, wherein he emphasized the importance of “connecting companies to community colleges that can help design training to fill specific student needs.”

The ECI project is supported by a number of QCC chairpersons, faculty and Academic Senators, and will be facilitated on our campus by Denise Ward, Interim Vice President for Pre-College, Continuing Education and Workforce Development. At the January meeting of the Steering Committee, the Marketing and Curriculum Planning Subcommittees gave updates on the initial work of their members: The committees planned to:

  • Develop a marketing and recruiting campaign (funded by the DOE), including print and on-line strategies to enroll 110 students for the fall 2014 launch.
  • Finalize the mission and value statements of the ECI and name of the high school.
  • Begin work on skills mapping and the scope and sequence plan by assembling job descriptions from technology companies that are applicable to careers in business technology solutions – and for which two of QCC’s existing degrees most closely prepare our students (Associate in Applied Science degree in Computer Information Systems in the Business Department and Internet Technology in the Engineering Technology Department).

Two QCC chairpersons serve on the Steering Committee, and an additional two chairs with seven QCC faculty serve on the ECI Curriculum Planning Subcommittee. Any changes to existing degree curriculum will be subject to the standard QCC Curriculum Committee approval process. All of the program’s college courses will be taught by QCC faculty.

Unique Aspects of the Model:

Unlike some traditional schools where only high achieving students are selected for accelerated programs or honors courses, ECI students will have the opportunity to earn college credits while in high school. This expectation creates a culture that supports and encourages students who might struggle in other environments. Instead of abruptly moving from a high school environment to a college campus, ECI students begin with one college course—often in the tenth grade—and gradually increase the number of college courses over time.

In the new 9 through 14 College and Career Preparatory schools, “blue chip” employer partners identify the appropriate entry-level positions that students may qualify for upon graduation; employers then work with secondary and post-secondary partners to map the key skills needed to succeed in those positions. Employer partners will also ensure students receive mentoring from industry professionals to help provide opportunities for workplace experiences aligned with the curriculum.

History of the Early College Initiative program at The City University of New York (CUNY)

In partnership with the NYC DOE, CUNY has developed 14 Early College Initiatives, the goal of enabling a broad range of students to earn both a high school diploma and an associate degree (or up to two years of college credit)—at no cost to themselves or their families. In the last three years, several new ECI’s have joined with industry partners to form to accomplish the above with the added value of internships, mentoring and opportunities for employment with the industry partners or those similar to them.

As stated by CUNY, the proposed objectives for these latter Early College Initiative are to:

  • Blend a rigorous college-prep high school curriculum with the college level coursework required to earn an associate degree in a technology/business discipline and a carefully sequenced set of workplace experiences that prepare students to move seamlessly into high potential jobs.
  • Offer a path to a college education and a professional career that includes substantive guidance and coaching from adults through the first two critical years of college and a series of increasingly demanding workplace experiences.
  • Remove financial and other barriers to higher education thus allowing significant college-level work to be part of every student’s experience.
  • Enroll students of all abilities, levels, and backgrounds to ensure that a wide range of students have access to a high quality high school and college education.
  • Serve low income young people, first-generation college students, English language learners and students of color –all of whom are statistically underrepresented in higher education
  • Provide small, personalized learning environments with 80 to 100 students per grade and no more than 600 students per school.