National Academy Foundation (non-profit organization)

National Academy Foundation (non-profit organization)
National Academy Foundation
Type Non Profit Organization
Founded 1982
Headquarters New York, New York
Key people

Sanford I. Weill, Chairman Chairman Emeritus, Citigroup
Kenneth I. Chenault, Vice Chairman Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, American Express Company
JD Hoye, President, National Academy Foundation
John J. Ferrandino, Chief Operating Officer BIO

Chief Operating Officer, National Academy Foundation

National Academy Foundation (NAF) is an educational non profit organization. The mission of the National Academy Foundation (NAF) is to sustain a national network of career academies to support the development of youth toward personal and professional success in high school, in higher education, and throughout their careers. NAF Academies represent business/school partnerships that prepare young people for future careers through a combination of school-based curricula and work-based experiences. (source



NAF was created by philanthropist Sanford I. Weill. His proposal was accepted by the New York City Board of Education resulted in the opening of the first Academy of Finance in a Brooklyn public high school in 1982. The program was designed specifically to address the lack of opportunity for young people in New York City.

As Weill explained in his testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee:

You saw young people playing in the street, young people without having a clue of what life was about, and how they can become part of the system. That was the beginning of the idea that maybe the private sector should get together with the public sector and see if we can create a high-school level program that can expose young people for a career in the financial services industry.

In 1987, NAF's Hospitality and Tourism theme was launched with the opening of two pilot Academies, one in Miami, Florida and another in Richmond Hill, New York, with support from the American Express Foundation.

In 2000 NAF piloted a third theme, opening Academies of Information Technology in 12 high schools across the country with support from Lucent, AT&T, United Technologies, GTE/Verizon, Oracle, Computer Associates and Compaq.

In 2002, the first set of Career Academies outside the US were set up in the United Kingdom by Career Academies UK, affiliated to NAF

Today there are 130 Academies of Hospitality and Tourism, 159 Academies of Information Technology, and 318 Academies of Finance located in 40 states and the District of Columbia supported locally by over 2,000 businesses and corporations.

Recently, the NAF has created a fourth academy soon to grow in numbers like the other three major academies. This new academy is known as the Academy of Engineering.

Purposes and Components

'College prep plus' aptly describes the career academies of the NAF. The National Academy Foundation sponsors these differing institutions of learning to encourage and facilitate both preparation for college and technical training in a career path.[1]

NAF academies can be characterized as ‘schools within schools’ and serving a small community of students for two or more years. Normally these academies are run and taught by the same teachers for a number of semesters. During that time a number of different components come together to prepare students for both a potential career and going onto college. The teachers of the academies generally are skilled in both academic and the technical knowledge of the field in which the academy is focused. They meet often to coordinate the curriculum, take care of administrative details and are involved outside the classroom with local businesses and sponsors.[2]

Summer internships of about six to eight weeks are centerpieces of the academy programs and usually pay the students for their work. During the internship the students spend some time training and often report to a school staff supervisor and sometimes have a workplace mentor.[3] Seniors in the program combine work-based learning with corresponding curricular activities to learn more about the industry, job, “explore careers, plan for college, and develop their social and interpersonal skills.”[4]

There have been significant reports and statistics on the outcome of students from these Career Academies. Milton Chen, author of Education Nation and former executive director for the George Lucas Educational Foundation, sums up the most recent reports:

- In comparison with non-academy students, graduates of NAF institutes earn on average of 11% more per year in the eight years after graduation. - While most academies are located in urban areas where the average high school graduation rate is 50%, over 90% of NAF students graduate high school - Over half of these graduates earn bachelor’s degrees in four years while the national average is only 32%.[5]

Currently the National Academy Foundation focuses on four career themes: Finance, Hospitality & Tourism, Information Technology, or Engineering. These themes are carried out by teachers supported by NAF professional development, training, technical support and curriculum. NAF academies usually run the last two years of high school but some are looking to expand the length of the programs so as to better prepare students for college and/or a career.[6]

List of Governing Academies

See also


  1. ^ David Stern, Charles Dayton, and Marilyn Raby. Career Academies: A Proven Strategy to Prepare High School Students for College and Careers. University of California Berkley. Updated February 10, 2010 pp30
  2. ^ David Stern, Charles Dayton, and Marilyn Raby pp5
  3. ^ Orr, Margaret Terry; Hughes, Katherine L; Karp, Melinda Mechur. Shaping Postsecondary Transitions: Influences of the National Academy Foundation Career Academy. IEE Brief. 29 April 2003 pp3
  4. ^ Orr, Margaret Terry; Hughes, Katherine L; Karp, Melinda Mechur pp4
  5. ^ Chen, Milton. Education Nation: Six Leading Edges of Innovation in our Schools. Jossey-Bass a Wiley Imprint, San Francisco 2010 pp 56
  6. ^ David Stern, Charles Dayton, and Marilyn Raby pp. 6-7

External links