Career-Connected Learning

A passion for learning is sometimes ignited in places outside classrooms.


By connecting the classroom to the business world, students can learn in dynamic ways that position them for success. On the industry side, this helps to develop a Connecticut-grown workforce deep in skill, talent and diversity.

Our goal is to create a mutually rewarding school-business network – one where the business provides a full continuum of work-based learning experiences and the student provides value and work product to the business.

Career-connected learning allows students to see the connection between the classroom and the working world; it enables them to see the potential for their future.

The Long-Term Goal: Creating An Education + Business Network That Expands Impact And Controls Costs

Components of the design, based on the National Academy Foundation (NAF) model, include:

  • Career Curriculum

    Students follow a learning pathway that complements traditional classroom instruction while preparing them for the workplace

  • Paid Internship

    Students put their lessons into practice (over 120 hours), make meaningful contributions to the employer, and receive wages

  • Advisory Board

    Business and school leaders, teachers, education organizations, and students meet regularly to ensure fidelity throughout the year

  • Mentorship

    Because dollars alone are not enough, employers transfer their important knowledge and experience to the next generation through supervision

  • Valuable Work Product

    Interns engage in projects well beyond busy work that build problem-solving skills, address real work issues, and add value to the company

In Connecticut, Career-Connected Learning efforts are operating with great success.

Everyone benefits from meaningful career-connected learning: students, school communities, employers, and beyond. Presently, four CT school districts are operating NAF themed academies, and the statistics are telling.


Graduation Rate



Over 80 business partners and almost 140 advisory board members are currently involved in this important work. For the 2017-18 school year, nearly 1,600 predominantly low-income/minority students were enrolled in a NAF academy, 18% of whom were English language learners.

Information for Employers

Employers benefit greatly from hiring interns from NAF academies.

  • Follow this link to jump to our internship page, full of information on our internship program
  • Take a look at these editions of our internship newsletter, Insights, to get a sense of the contributions interns can make.

We are happy to help with the hiring process for high school students and share further details. Email us at

Many thanks to the Gawlicki Family Foundation and Raytheon Technologies for their support of this work!

“Tajay has helped us look at things through a different lens. She is developing a strategy that will engage her peers to participate in fun events such as Winterfest.”

Jackie Mandyck, Managing Director, The iQuilt Partnership

We welcome your participation!

Contact us at 
or on social media!