Gov. Larry Hogan announced a proposal to expand Maryland’s Pathways in Technology Early College High School program. (Ulysses Muñoz / Baltimore Sun video)

Gov. Larry Hogan announced legislation and new funding Thursday to expand the number of schools participating in the state’s technology education program.

Maryland’s Pathways in Technology Early College High School program, known as P-TECH, enables students to graduate with a high school diploma and — at no-cost — a two-year associate degree in a science, technology, engineering or math field in six years or less.

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Hogan said his senior adviser, Keiffer Mitchell, brought the idea to the administration.

“Three years ago, I announced we would be bringing the P-TECH model to Maryland,” Hogan said. “It’s one of the most creative and innovative and effective approaches to education that I’ve seen. It represents an incredible partnership between our business community, our community colleges, and our school systems.”

Each of the state’s eight P-TECH schools features a partnership between a local high school, a college and a private sector sponsor.

Dunbar High School and Carver Vocational-Technical School in Baltimore were the first to become P-TECH schools for the 2016-2017 school year. Six more P-TECH schools have opened since, including New Era Academy in Baltimore and Dundalk High School in Baltimore County. Others are in Allegany, Prince Georges and Montgomery counties.

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To expand the number of such schools, Hogan said his administration will submit the P-TECH Opportunity Act of 2019 in the upcoming General Assembly session.

The bill would lift caps that limit the state to issuing one planning grant per local school system. In addition, the legislation would lift the cap that currently does not allow for any additional schools beyond the eight already open for several more years.

The governor also committed $300,000 in his fiscal year 2020 budget to fund planning grants for three additional P-TECH schools.

“I think we’re going to find agreement we should expand it further,” Hogan said. “Why put a limit on it? … I’d love to do 100 additional schools. I’d like to have one in every single jurisdiction.”

Hogan made the announcement with Maryland Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon and executives from IBM and Exelon subsidiaries Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., PEPCO and Exelon Generation, which are supporting the expansion to boost their workforce development efforts.

“This important jobs program provides Marylander’s the technical skills they need to graduate, enter into the local employment market, earn a good income and lay the groundwork for a prosperous and successful career,” Exelon President and CEO Chris Crane said in a statement.

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