60+ up-and-coming ninth graders from across the region – including 22 Binghamton students – and their parents attended a special orientation at SUNY Broome on Thursday, beginning their unique journey to an Associate’ Degree in one of several technology or health-related fields. Funded by a state grant, the Pathways to Technology – Early College High School (P-TECH) program enrolls about 60 ninth-grade students drawn from Broome – Tioga area schools and provides them with mentors and coaches through partnerships with local businesses. With extra support, these students will engage in project-based learning and team-centered activities emulating the 21st Century world of work. Students are provided with mobile devices and expected to work together both in person and through a virtual, online community, as they sort out what career path they want to pursue and begin earning college credit in that direction while still in high school. The goal for the Southern Tier P-TECH program is to graduate these ninth-grade students in 6 years or less with an Associate’s Degree from SUNY Broome at no cost to the student or their families.