Our Story
Our Story

Reimagining high school. That’s not what we set out to do when we originated the career academy model back in 1969 as a solution to the dropout crisis. Our experiment became a game changer. The model is now used in 7000 high schools across the country.

Career academies connect student interests’ with career aspirations, making high school education personally relevant. Students take a mixture of career and academic classes throughout their high school careers within small learning communities organized by industry themes. Throughout high school, students get professional learning experiences beyond the classroom, opportunities to engage with working adults, and the chance to apply classroom learnings to real-world problems.

The model’s effectiveness has proof. Career academies lead to higher graduation rates, increased postsecondary enrollment, higher earning potential, and greater civic engagements.

PAI has leveraged its learning into a host of Career-Connected Learning Strategies for schools, districts, networks and program partners that include:

– Work-based learning

– Career pathways development

– Career academies

– Pre-apprenticeship program design

Academies are a safe and trusting environment. I love belonging to a supportive community with lots of in-school activities and outside opportunities. Learning is relevant to the real world and I am challenged to meet high expectations. My voice is heard. I can express my uniqueness. It’s family.

— Philadelphia Career Academy Student