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The launch of a new work-based program aimed at inroducing more students to careers. Edsource December 14, 2014 by Michelle Maitre

Student work program demystifies careers

Business involvement in schools is seen as a key part of efforts to better prepare students for college and careers, a main goal of the Common Core State Standards in math and English. Yet education officials say effective partnerships are often lacking. “Everywhere I go, I talk to employers saying we can’t find the skilled workforce we need, and I talk to young people in schools saying we want opportunities and we can’t find them,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in October at a roundtable discussion in San Francisco on the importance of engaging business in schools. “Somehow the matchmaking, the connection (between business and education) doesn’t happen in too many places.”

Students in the program participate in mock interviews and résumé-building exercises, learn about professional behavior, go on company tours and have the chance to be mentored by Verizon employees. The program will culminate in paid summer internships for many of the students in the academy, offering important real-world experience that a growing number of educators say is crucial to keep students engaged in their studies and better prepare them for college and the workplace.

The program is a partnership between Verizon and the National Academy Foundation, a national nonprofit organization based in New York that works with and promotes academic and career academies and engineering academyies, officially called Engineering and Designing a Green Environment, or EDGE, is a NAF academy, where students receive academic instruction tailored around career themes. Internships, job shadowing and other exposure to the work world are important parts of the curriculum.

The EDGE Academy/Verizon Work-Based Learning Program is modeled after a similar one launched last year at NAF academy, Manhattan Bridges High School in New York. The monthly visits were a hit with students, said Jayne Mayer, director of employee engagement for the Verizon Foundation.

The partnerships are also beneficial for businesses, who say the early introduction to careers pays off in training a future workforce. “There’s a business side to creating a talent pipeline,” Mayer said. “But if we look at it more through a philanthropic lens, there’s a gap in this country with not enough students prepared or interested in STEM careers,” she added, using the acronym for science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. “By getting to students early, we’re trying to provide them some perspective and hopefully produce more STEM folks.”

Verizon is a participant in the National Academy Foundation’s recently launched NAFTrack Certified Hiring program. Participating businesses agree to give special hiring consideration to students who graduate from certified NAF academies. The perks could include college internship opportunities, the potential for higher starting salaries and guaranteed interviews, among other advantages.

Business partnerships are an important part of the NAF model, where “hundreds if not thousands of other business partners” work with academies on activities like curriculum review and work-based learning activities, said James Cole, work-based learning manager for the National Academy Foundation. The business experience introduces students to career possibilities, but also helps demystify the work world to help students understand how what they’re learning in school relates to what they may do in the future.


Congratulations to NAF Alumni Honoree Ana Lucia Urizar
Academy of Finance and Enterprise, Class of 2009, Queens, NY
At the age of fourteen, Ana moved to New York City with little fluency in English. After attending college on full scholarship, this past fall Ana started Syracuse University College of Law. Alongside Ana’s hard work, she attributes her success to the opportunity to attend a NAF academy. Ana now is finding ways to give back and help NAF students progress along career pathways. She developed an online mentoring program for her alma mater to motivate AOFE students to apply to college – and already has matched 40 students with individual mentors at local colleges. While preparing for college, Ana worked for JP Morgan Chase as the first intern in the ‘Su Casa’ program, created by the Hispanic National Bar Association to provide Latino families free workshops on foreclosure and mediation programs. Ana lives by her motto “Pay it Forward.”

Attention Seniors! Congratulations! Let us know your plans. Click here for our Senior Survey.

KPMG partnered with the career-themed academy network the National Academy Foundation and human resource-development organization Ceridian to provide career planning skills to Staten Island students at the Susan E. Wagner High School Academy of Finance. Click here for the full story.

Check this site for scholarship opportunities! click here

NAF Teachers! You are eligible for free professional development through NAF’s eCollege Campus. The course are completed online, some in as little as 6 hours, on your schedule. We are now offering five online courses that will help you deliver on all elements of the NAF model. Click here  for more information and registration.

Thanks to the Museum of American Finance for hosting our Coordinators meeting. For more information on their resources and programs go to www.moaf.org.

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Upcoming Events

Monday, December 22
Job Shadow at Keren-Or Port Richmond
Tuesday, January 6
Job Shadow Project Find Hamilton Senior Housing-IHHS
Wednesday, January 14
Grover Cleveland AOIT Database Project Museum of Interesting Things
Tuesday, January 20
Job Shadow at NAF with Dana Pungello from Tottenville
Wednesday, February 4
Job Shadow at Brooklyn Marriott NUHS