The Pittsburgh Promise: Fast Track Your Future

Posted on Categories Business, Community, Workforce Engagement, College and Career Pathways, Postsecondary Transitions

At a Glance

Through the Pittsburgh Promise, CTE students in the Pittsburgh Public School District are eligible to receive a scholarship to earn post-secondary credits in high school and beyond.


The Pittsburgh Promise is a program to help students and families of the Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS) plan, prepare, and pay for education beyond high school. The Promise Program provides high school graduates who meet the eligibility criteria a $10,000 annual scholarship for up to four years. These scholarships can be used at more than 100 qualifying colleges and trade/technical schools in Pennsylvania.

The Pittsburgh Promise, the career and technical Education office at the Pittsburgh School District, the Community College of Allegheny County, and the Energy Innovation Center are working together to offer concurrent-enrollment options for all PPS students to take advantage of these opportunities. Beginning in the 2014-15 school year, career and technical education (CTE) students enrolled in Pittsburgh public schools became eligible to use a portion of the scholarship to enroll in college courses and earn postsecondary credits while still in high school. For the 2014-15 school year, students enrolled in Health Careers, Culinary Arts, and Heating, Ventilation, and Air Condition (HVAC) CTE programs can take up to six credits at the Community College of Allegheny College. In 2015-16, the program was expanded to include Information Technology, Energy, and Advanced Manufacturing CTE programs.

The Pittsburgh Promise has been available to graduating high school students for a number of years. This new aspect of the program is designed to encourage CTE students to pursue postsecondary education and to get a jump-start on college while building strong credentials for a career after high school. Additionally, the program aims to recruit more students to CTE programs while still in high school.

Origin / Implementation

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) provided an initial $10 million grant to support first-year awards to qualifying members of the Class of 2008, as well as a $90 million challenge grant contingent upon additional funds from the community. Many local foundations have responded to that challenge with generous contributions.

A review of the Pittsburgh Promise program in 2013 showed that secondary CTE students were not taking advantage of the scholarship program. The new addition of allowing CTE students to enroll in college courses was planned during the summer of 2013 and implemented during the fall of 2014.

Results / Impact

Approximately 75 students took advantage of the program in its first year (2014-15). The program will be monitored closely to ascertain its effectiveness, the number of students articulating after graduation, and the impact on student competence within their CTE program.


Pittsburgh School District
Angela Mike

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