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Major US Companies Join To Create 21st Century Career Courses

Submitted by: National Academy Foundation

Categories: Corporate Social Responsibility, Philanthropy & Corporate Contributions

Posted: Jul 07, 2009 – 06:00 PM EST


Jul. 07 /CSRwire/ - Phoenix, AZ - July 7, 2009 -The National Academy Foundation (NAF), at its 2009 Institute for Staff Development being held in Phoenix, AZ from July 9-11, 2009, will be training over 1,000 teachers from high schools across the country to implement and use new curriculum focused in the areas of finance, hospitality & tourism, and information technology. The curriculum has been developed with the support and input of a number of major companies, to support NAF career academies in high schools across the United States. NAF career academies expose high school students to career opportunities through career-focused curriculum and paid internships with real-world career experiences related to a career area, and are supported by local advisory boards made up of community and business leaders.

The NAF career academy model is becoming increasingly relevant as research verifies its effectiveness, and as the Obama administration embraces the need for the 21st century learning skills that the NAF academies provide. NAF employs the highly effective "project-based learning" method in its curriculum design, in which what students learn - and the way they learn - is closely aligned with the world of work. Students are responsible for taking control of their own portfolio of work, managing authentic, theme-based projects, using the same skills that are required in the nation’s corporate offices.

Companies which have provided support to develop new curriculum to be rolled out are:

  • American Express - Sustainable Tourism - Academy of Hospitality & Tourism
  • AT&T - Introduction to Programming - Academy of Information Technology
  • Citi Foundation - underwriting for all Academy of Finance courses
  • Ernst & Young - Business Ethics - Academy of Finance
  • The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation - Customer Service - Academy of Hospitality & Tourism (Marriott International provided the expertise regarding content and review)
  • New York Life - Insurance - Academy of Finance
  • Pearson Foundation - Academy of Information Technology - Digital Video course
  • SAS - SAS(R) Programming for High School - Academy of Information Technology - SAS is providing the NAF Network with free software, sending training staff to the NAF Institute and will offer a special workshop on the course. SAS is also working to integrate its SAS(R) Curriculum Pathways(R) into the NAF curriculum.

NAF, in partnership with these leading companies, is committed to providing industry-validated content linked to core academics as a means to provide inspiration, relevance, and context for their education.

Over the past three years, NAF has collaborated with several major corporations to develop new courses. These companies not only funded course development, but also provided ideas for projects and other content by involving their employees in the development and review process. In addition, each company made its contribution without any mention of specific products or company labeling. Nor has any company exercised editorial control over the content. They agreed to offer their expertise as companies committed to positioning students to succeed in high school, by providing a real world view into the actual content that is currently relevant in their industries

The curriculum will be implemented at NAF career academies across the country, which provide career-focused curriculum, as well as real-world work-based learning, such as paid internships with experiences tied to a career theme. The National Academy Foundation currently supports academies in the areas of Finance, Hospitality & Tourism, Information Technology, and Engineering.

"One of the key advantages of the NAF model is its strong connection to employers. Working with companies and members of our Advisory Boards gives NAF a special insight into the future needs of the workplace and makes our curriculum highly relevant and engaging," notes Andrew Rothstein, NAF's Senior Director for Curriculum and Academics.

In June 2008, MDRC released an eight-year longitudinal study demonstrating that graduates from career academies such as NAF's have average earning increases of up to 17% over their non-academy peers. This finding was especially strong among black males, a particularly encouraging development for this segment of the labor market which has usually lagged behind. Career Academy participants were also more likely to be living independently with children and a spouse or a partner. The Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy, an independent, nonpartisan organization, recently identified Career Academies as meeting a "top tier" evidence standard of effectiveness, based on MDRC's long-term evaluation of the program model. The Career Academies model joins only three other interventions that the Coalition has identified that meet the "top tier" criteria.

About the National Academy Foundation
The National Academy Foundation (NAF) is an acclaimed national network of high school career academies - or schools within schools - predominately based in urban districts- with rigorous, career-themed curricula created with current industry and educational expertise. Each year, NAF serves more than 50,000 students in over 500 Academies in 41 states and the District of Columbia through the Academy of Finance, the Academy of Engineering, the Academy of Hospitality & Tourism, and the Academy of Information Technology. NAF was founded by Sanford I. Weill, Chairman Emeritus of Citigroup Inc., as a partnership between business leaders and educators. Employees of more than 2,500 businesses support NAF students by securing paid internships, volunteering in classrooms, acting as mentors, and serving on local Advisory Boards. NAF's record of success with 90% graduation rates and more than 80% of these graduates going on to college, has garnered the support of corporations, public policy makers, and foundations, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. For more information visit

For more information, please contact:

Tim Lemberger Senior Director of Communications
Phone: 646-660-1370
Phone 2: 646-660-1370


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