"I don't want to hear the same old stuff about how America can't afford to invest in the things that have always made us strong," the president said. "Don't tell me we can afford to shut down the government, which costs our economy billions of dollars, but we can't afford to invest in our education systems. There's nothing more important than this."
P-Tech, which focuses heavily on computer science, was formed in 2011 through a partnership between New York City's Department of Education, the City University of New York and IBM. Students attend the institution for six years to complete four years of high school and two years of college.
Obama, who is gearing up for another budget battle with congressional Republicans, praised the school, which he said teaches students specific skills that can lead to a good job.
"And most important, you'll graduate with a high school diploma and an associate's degree in computer systems or electromechanical engineering. And that means you'll be in demand," he said. "Companies will want to hire you."
The president also noted how the students will save thousands of dollars with those first two years of college out of the way, "which means you can afford to buy a house sooner; you can afford to start your business sooner."
The country should do everything it can, he added "to give kids a chance to go to schools like this one."
After the event, Obama is scheduled to attend two fundraisers for Democratic congressional candidates and the Democratic National Committee.
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(Photo: AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)