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The Career Academy Concept

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2001
2 pages
This paper describes the career academy concept as a strategy to reduce delinquent behavior and enhance protective factors among at-risk youth.
Career academies are schools within schools that link students with peers, teachers, and community partners in a disciplined environment, fostering academic success and mental and emotional health. They allow youth who may have trouble fitting into the larger school environment to belong to a smaller educational community and to connect what they learn in school with their career aspirations and goals. The career academy concept has three key elements: a small learning community, college preparatory curriculum with a career theme, and partnerships with employers, community, and higher education. A 5-year evaluation of nine academies and 1,900 students found that career academies reduced dropout rates nearly one-third for at-risk students. Students enrolled in career academies attended high school more consistently, completed more academic and vocational courses, and were more likely to apply to college than their counterparts not enrolled in academies. The paper describes a promising program, the Criminal Justice Academy in Baltimore, MD. Resources, references

Date Published: May 1, 2001