New College and Career Academies
This spring, 300 incoming freshmen at Akron’s Firestone Community Learning Center high school visited the Kent Campus to explore firsthand what careers in the areas of design, graphic communication, the performing arts and advanced technology and comprehensive engineering have to offer.
The visit was one of the first events to come from Kent State’s partnership with Akron Public Schools to open three new College and Career Academies that will focus on the above areas at Firestone for the 2018-19 school year.
Kent State is part of a growing number of area businesses and organizations that have partnered with Akron Public Schools after the school district was designated a Ford Next Generation Learning Community last May—joining a national network, supported by the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company, that is transforming public high schools into career-themed academies to better prepare students for college and professional success in today’s competitive global economy.
School systems in the network develop robust ties with employers, which in turn, help generate a stronger talent-development pipeline for high-demand jobs and overall community prosperity.
“The earlier we show students all that higher education has to offer, the more we empower them with a desire for a college education and a successful career,” says President Beverly Warren, who adds that the partnership helps the university realize one of its core values of community engagement while serving as an innovation engine to enhance the quality of life in Northeast Ohio.
Melody Tankersley, PhD, senior associate provost and dean of graduate studies at Kent State, says the partnership might take many forms, including internships for Akron students and experiential learning opportunities for both Akron and Kent State students and teachers. “We will assist one another in developing problem-based learning experiences that will transform our respective educational programs,” she says.
The partnership will also transform lives.
“This is an ambitious project that will strengthen our schools, families and the future of our students for generations to come,” says David James, Akron Public Schools superintendent. “We are incredibly grateful to Kent State University for being one of our first partners to come forward and say, ‘We want to help.’”