Academies of Louisville

Contact Us

Joseph Ellison
Assistant Superintendent of High School

About Us

The Academies of Louisville prepare, inspire, and empower students by offering meaningful and relevant learning experiences that directly relate to our world today.

The goal is to transform the high school experience by teaching core content subjects through the lens of career applications so students see the relevance to their future.

Venn diagram, top circle high schools.left circle community right circle business, intersection student.

Transforming Public Education for a 21st-Century Workforce

The Academies of Louisville offer a new educational experience, shifting from traditional techniques to personalized career-themed learning communities.

The Academies of Louisville launched in the fall of 2017 with a mission to evolve public high school education by equipping students with the skills and 21st-century know-how needed to thrive in an ever-changing global economy.  

By connecting high schools to business and community partners, the Academy model aligns education and workforce development needs to better prepare students for postsecondary and career success. Academy students will graduate not only with a diploma but also with college credits, industry certifications, real work experience, and a backpack full of success skills.

Beyond graduating college-, career-, and transition-ready, students will have a head start on life in the real world. Believing deeply in educational equity for all, this initiative prepares, inspires, and empowers all Academy students to reach their highest potential. No tuition or application is required.

After four years in an Academy, students will graduate with:

  • Direct career and industry exposure

  • Industry and college field trips

  • Job shadowing experience

  • Junior- and senior-year internships through SummerWorks

  • The ability to earn college credits and industry credentials

  • The ability to earn work experience through co-ops or apprenticeships 

  • Networking opportunities with local industry professionals

  • Success skills and a postsecondary transition plan

8th Grade Transition

Paving the Way

Every eighth-grade student in JCPS will attend the annual Junior Achievement Inspire interactive career fair to explore industry sectors and available careers in the community. This helps students make the connection between the classroom, their high school choice, and, ultimately, their future.

Freshman Academy

Exploration Begins

Every ninth-grade student will complete Freshman Academy. Providing a smooth and successful transition (academically, behaviorally, and socially) from middle school to high school, Freshman Academy allows students to engage in personal and career exploration early on. By taking a college and career seminar course complete with field trips, guest speakers, and hands-on learning experiences, students can identify and explore career academy pathways in their school.

Academies (10th-12th)

Preparing for the Future

Academies are small learning communities focused on the careers and industries that strengthen our local economy. Students can choose from two to three Academies at each high school. Students have the opportunity to explore careers and receive hands-on training and experience across a variety of in-demand industry sectors.

Industry Sectors

Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources / Arts, Media, and Communications / Business Services, Finance, Marketing, and Logistics / Culinary and Hospitality / Education and Early Childhood / Engineering, STEM, and Manufacturing / Government, Law, and Public Service / ROTC / Health Science / Information Technology / Skilled Trades

Business Engagement

Business partnerships bring relevance to the classroom by incorporating various activities, from teacher development to work-based learning experiences and mentoring. Benefiting both schools and students, experiences like job shadowing, internships, co-ops, apprenticeships, and early college opportunities all positively impact work-to-earn programs, postsecondary education, and career readiness. This dramatic shift allows students to step out of the classroom and directly into college and the workforce, more prepared than ever. In turn, Academies close the loop for local businesses that need a pipeline of skilled, educated talent to fill in-demand positions.

Graduation and Beyond

A New Generation of Leaders

When Academy students graduate high school, they walk away with far more than a diploma. College credits, industry certifications, work experience, and the mastery of academic and technical skills are just a few ways an Academy education prepares students for life after senior year. These invaluable experiences, coupled with the development of success skills like communication, creativity, problem-solving, and determination, allow them to be more competitive in a 21st-century economy and engaged members of the community. Local businesses and industry will benefit from Academies by creating a stronger pipeline of talent right here in Louisville, making our city an even greater place to live, learn, and work.

Learn more about the Academies of Louisville

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Academies of Louisville corporate partners logos, jefferson county public schools, Ford next generation learning, kentuckianaworks, greater Louisville inc.