In 2005, the DC Students Construction Trades Foundation launched the Academy of Construction and Design, rejuvenating career and technical education in DC. A-CAD offers a hands-on curriculum that builds skills (math, carpentry, mechanical drawing, blueprint reading), encourages academic success (94% of seniors graduate), and prepares students for college and careers (with seminars on topics like interviewing, writing college essays, and career networking). Each year, students test their knowledge at real building sites in the city; partnerships with local construction firms offer internships, mentoring, and job placement opportunities. These experiences set Academy graduates apart from their peers – whether entering the workforce or continuing their education. The Foundation also provides adults with fully-certified apprenticeship training, offering evening classes to help balance career-enhancing coursework with home life and employment. The Academy builds promising futures. So can you.
The Foundation worked closely with high school partners and sponsoring employers to help keep students engaged and help apprentice trainees progress toward licensing, certification, and graduation in June. It adapted its program to comply with social distancing guidelines and offered paid summer jobs to help youth and their families. At the request of DCPS, virtual learning best practices are being replicated to support students in carpentry, electrical, HVAC, and introductory construction and engineering classes at Phelps High School. Students will come together in small, socially distanced groups to resume hands-on building projects when reopening and recovery plans allow.