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Akron Public Schools to launch Bridgestone Americas Academy of Applied Engineering & Technology

July 24, 2018

Akron Public Schools to launch Bridgestone Americas Academy of Applied Engineering & Technology

AKRON, Ohio – Akron Public Schools has established its fifth college and career academy with the East Community Learning Center’s Bridgestone Academy of Applied Engineering and Technology.

Bridgestone Americas will sponsor the academy, which will comprise four academic fields: automotive, electrical engineering, information technology and welding. It will also house the Firestone Complete Auto Care center.

Beginning this fall, students across the Akron school district will follow one of 16 different pathways in eight schools, learning through hands-on experiences and instruction from industry professionals, said Rachel Tecca, director of college and career academies.

“The benefit for the students in the academies is authentic learning,” she said. “The opportunity to learn from experts and then apply that learning in an authentic experience. It’s not just theoretical, not in a book. They’ll be doing the work and learning from professionals that are actually doing the work in the field.”

At East’s new Firestone Complete Auto Care center, students will learn the business of running a retail store - from customer service to the business side of retail. The district will transform East’s existing auto-technology lab into a retail center, complete with a customer waiting area. Bridgestone will build out the center, donating software, materials and fixtures.

Students, wearing uniforms, will provide basic auto maintenance services for the community. Revenue from the center will go back into the program.

“The Automotive Technology program at East CLC has a long history of teaching students auto repair skills,” said automotive technology teacher Chadwick Groom in a news release. “This collaboration with Bridgestone Americas will strengthen our curriculum by providing students with more advanced training while learning about customer service and business fundamentals.”

As the named sponsor of the new college and career academy, Bridgestone will dedicate a lead employee, while drawing on its relationships with industry professionals to work with students.

“The sponsorship isn’t about money, it’s about time and talent,” Tecca said. “It’s a really deep commitment to the academy.”

“This collaboration marks another step forward in the transformation of APS high school education to College & Career Academies, providing all students with the opportunity to explore their world in greater depth and achieve success after graduation, ” said Akron Superintendent David W. James in the release.

United Way of Summit County works to connect Akron schools with local businesses, and helped facilitate the district’s partnership with Bridgestone.

“Akron Public Schools, through their College and Career Academies, are transforming their educational model,” said United Way President and CEO Jim Mullen in the release. “Bridgestone’s investment will help them create exciting new learning experiences that will prepare students with valuable skills for future success .”

Akron launched two pilot academies in 2016 at North High School: the Akron Children’s Hospital Academy of Global Technology and Business, and the Academy of Health and Human Services.

Kent State University will sponsor the Academy of Advanced Technology and Engineering, the Academy of Design and the Academy of Performing Arts, all at Firestone Community Learning Center.

Akron students begin thinking about their futures in ninth grade, when they enter the Freshman Academy. During that year, they explore various career pathways and visit college campuses. They begin their career path as sophomores.

Akron Public Schools was named a Ford Next Generation Learning Community in 2017. The Ford Motor Company Fund works to transform public high schools into career academies, helping students get ready for college and prepare for professional success.

Teachers and officials trained for Akron’s transformation to academies at the Academies of Nashville, which has 40 academies in 12 high schools.

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