Based on encouraging early results in the Twin Cities, Career Academies will expand into Southwest and South Central Minnesota thanks to a $2 million Bush Foundation investment—paving the way for career pathway possibilities for students and gains for the state’s skilled labor force.
Career Academies encompasses a sequence of rigorous academic and career-focused coursework coupled with career exposure and work-based opportunities that equip students with the knowledge, technical expertise, and 21st century skills to be successful in post-secondary and career. Students gain valuable career-based learning and workplace experiences and important transferrable job skills such as critical thinking, leadership and teamwork.
Now in its second year, Career Academies shows promising early results and growth. The initiative has seen exceptional results in partnership with Minneapolis Community and Technical College’s program with Alternative Learning Centers (ALC); in its first year, 61% of their Career Academy participants graduated high school compared to the typical ALC graduation rate of 17%. Career Academies has flourished to more than 2,900 students across five metro-area communities. To date, students have earned 1,075 college credits and 53 industry credentials. These numbers translate into savings of an estimated $521,196 in post-secondary tuition costs.
This collective effort is expected to provide exciting opportunities for high school students, boost graduation rates, and deliver a needed influx of talented workers into Minnesota’s economy.
“The Bush Foundation is proud to support the expansion of Career Academies into Greater Minnesota so more students have access to these career-focused pathways,” says Bush Foundation Education Portfolio Director Kayla Yang-Best. “This investment is also a learning opportunity to inform our own individualized learning strategy, which is rooted in making K-12 education more culturally, instructionally and career relevant for all students.”