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Career Clusters™ Institute Recap: Career Academies: An Effective CTE Strategy

The National Career Clusters™ Institute is an annual summer event that offers a range of seminars and workshops highlighting model CTE programs across the country that are aligned to the National Career Clusters Framework ™. This blog series provides a recap of the broad range of information shared over the course of the event, which took place June 18 – 20 in Washington, DC.

At a breakout session during last week’s National Career Clusters Institute, JD Hoye, President of the National Academy Foundation, and David Stern of the University of California, Berkeley, shared their insights on career academies as an effective way of preparing students for postsecondary education and careers.

Career academies prepare students for success through a research-backed model that includes Career Technical Education (CTE) curricula, work-based learning experiences, and business partner expertise.

Stern discussed recent studies showing that students participating in career academies have improved grades, attendance, credits earned, and are more likely to stay in high school than similar students who are not in career academies. In California, where more than half of students entering career academies meet certain high risk categories, Stern reported that 95 percent of career academy seniors graduate on time compared to the statewide graduation rate of 85 percent.

Hoye also discussed the recent federal-level policy focus on career academies and what that could mean for CTE. Hoye stated that quality and proven practice should drive policy, that in-class time is not equal to proficiency, that real world application should be stressed as part of education, and that the workplace is a powerful extension of the classroom. From research, policy, and practice perspectives, career academies have proven to be an effective mechanism for implementing high quality CTE.

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst

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