SLCs and Career Academies

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What is the role of employers and higher education in Career Academies?

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Because a central feature of a career academy is to encourage students to relate what they’re learning in high school to what goes on outside high school, and after high school, they require the involvement of people working in the career field of the academy and in higher education. Usually such involvement is coordinated through an advisory board, sometimes called a steering committee.  CASN's Partnership Guide for Career Academies includes two sections that provide detail on this topic:  Academy Advisory Boards and 15 Steps to Building & Maintaining a Large Partner Base for a Career Academy.

Advisory boards have representatives from supporting companies and colleges, along with key district and high school staff members. They typically meet several times a year, establishing task forces to help with activities through the year. For example, academies usually have speakers come in from local companies and colleges to talk to students, and take students to such places on field trips.

Mentor programs offer a more elaborate form of involvement. They usually pair an academy student with someone working in the field. The two have contacts either in person or via email that allows the student to learn more about the company and field of the mentor, who becomes a sort of career related big brother or sister. College students can also become mentors. CASN's Mentor Handbook for Career Academies provides in-depth information on how to organize and operate such a program.

Job shadowing and internships offer another form of employer involvement. Here students spend time working in a local company or public agency. Brief versions of this take the form of job shadowing, spending a day or so in a company, while an internship entails several weeks of work under the guidance of a job supervisor who makes this a real learning experience. Community service offers another option, in which students volunteer rather than being paid but nevertheless gain valuable experience. CASN's Internship Handbook for Career Academies provides details on how to operate such programs.

Resources

Partnership Guide for Career Academies

Career Academy Support Network, UC Berkeley, Graduate School of Education; Dayton, Charles; Tidyman, Susan; 2010

Describes forms of support from employers and higher education, advisory boards, job shadowing, mentorships, internships and more. http://casn.berkeley.edu/resources.php?r=149&c=4

Mentor Handbook for Career Academies

Career Academy Support Network, UC Berkeley, Graduate School of Education; 2003.

A detailed guide to what the program coordinator needs to know and do, and the mentors themselves, with a treasure chest of tested ideas, activities, invitations, letters, & forms. http://casn.berkeley.edu/resources.php?r=72&c=4

Internship Handbook for Career Academies

Winthrop, Jerauld; Career Academy Support Network, UC Berkeley, Graduate School of Education; 2001.

A detailed guide to organizing and operating an internship program, including student and employer roles and related legal issues, with a trove of tested forms. http://casn.berkeley.edu/resources.php?r=150&c=2

 

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Last modified on 2/3/2011

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