Northeast Florida is spilling over with opportunities in high-tech careers. The demand by employers is great, as is the enthusiasm of young people when they are offered the opportunity to do hands-on learning and solve real-life problems. One can think of a career academy like a school within a school, according to the National Career Academy Coalition. The Career Academy Model must include these elements:
- A small, safe learning community: Students learn alongside others with similar interests;
- Sequential curriculum that has been vetted by professional organizations;
- Preparedness for an abundant life: Students graduate ready to succeed in sought-after technical careers, college and other post-secondary training opportunities.
Teacher teams work across multiple academic and technical subjects. For example, math and reading skills that are taught in core academic courses are used to solve real-life problems such as building a drone in the Aviation Academy. Students are grouped in cohorts and follow a prescribed program of study. An advisory board forges partnerships with employers, colleges and other community partners. This results in work-based learning opportunities for the students that include shadowing, community service, mentoring, internships and apprenticeships.
In particular, San Jose Early College at Cecil partners with the Florida State College of Jacksonville, local and state government leaders, professional organizations and business owners/HR departments at local firms in aviation, logistics, catering and sports marketing.
Career themes for the Cecil campus have been chosen from the list of 16 recognized national Career Clusters. Our educational team strives to meet the 10 National Standards of Practice, which were established 2004.
Career and technical education (CTE) has a long history in U.S. schools. Modern career academies date back to initiatives and federal funding set by the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Act of 2006. It was reauthorized in 2018 with bipartisan agreement. Changes included:
- Improved accountability for states and schools;
- Measures that encourage collaboration between secondary schools, higher education institutions and employers;
- Increased access to professional development for educators;
- Provisions that prioritize results-driven CTE programs for underserved communities such as for students of color, students from low-income households, English language learners and students with disabilities.
Career academies engage and excite young people to learn. San Jose Early College at Cecil strives to meet the career- and college-readiness needs of its student body and contribute to the economic well-being of our community.