At the statewide Education Summit in November 2011, Governor Patrick described his vision for building a stronger, more nimble, and more comprehensive 21st century public education system in Massachusetts. He launched the Gateway Cities Education Agenda, which includes targeted strategies to close persistent achievement and attainment gaps that disproportionately affect students from lower income families, students of color, English language learners, and students with disabilities in our Gateway Cities. The Gateway Cities Education Agenda is a targeted and aggressive plan to close achievement gaps and build a 21st century public education. More information about the Gateway Cities Education Agenda can be found here:

In January 2013, nine Gateway Cities were selected through a competitive application process to receive planning grants that will support the launch of career academies in September 2013. These academies will provide students with greater opportunities for early career exploration, offer more motivating educational experiences through applied learning opportunities both in and out of the classroom, and create multiple and seamless pathways to postsecondary educational and employment opportunities. To support and enhance these career academies, grant recipients will simultaneously create Education and Industry Coordinating Councils (EICCs) that are co-chaired by the public school district superintendent and the chair of the local Workforce Investment Board and include representatives from district high schools and charter schools, public and private institutions of higher education, industry partners, and local/regional employers.  Among other responsibilities, the EICCs will create robust job-embedded learning opportunities such as internships and externships for students enrolled in the Career Academies.

The map below provides links to the nine Gateway Cities Education Agenda Career Academies grantees.

HolyokeNorthLowellMethuenLawrenceTauntonDurfeeNew BedfordBarnstable

Map Courtesy of


Barnstable High School
Barnstable, MA

The Barnstable Public Schools received $40,000 to establish a Career Academy within Barnstable High School in partnership with Cape Cod Community College, Cape Cod Health Care, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod and the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce. Barnstable High School is creating two new career academies: Creative Economy and Environmental Science and Technology. For next year they are planning a series of mini-exploratory activities to introduce students to the new academies and are planning for a new sequence of academy classes starting in the 2014-2015 school year, although students will take Environmental Science and Video Production starting in the fall to kick off the academies. The video production class is creating a marketing video for each of the new academies to help with recruitment. There is a great effort to bring together work-based learning experiences, pathway classes, college planning, and career planning, which have been separate activities in the past, so that students understand the link between all of them. Barnstable hosted a recruitment event to start the EICC and many members of the community expressed interest in supporting the new academies.


Durfee High School
Fall River, MA

Fall River received $45,000 to better prepare students for the growing job opportunities in the STEM fields through the creation of the Science, Engineering, and Math Career Academy. This academy will be established in partnership with the Bristol County Training Consortium, the Fall River Career Center, Bristol Community College, UMass Dartmouth, the Massachusetts Biotechnology Education Foundation, the Atlantis Charter School, the Fall River Children’s Museum, BayCoast Bank, and Metalor Technologies. Durfee High School has many elements of their STEM Academy in place and is working to bring them together to create a career academy. Durfee adopted Project Lead the Way, an engineering curriculum, two years ago and now teachers, counselors, and the community are working together to create a robust academy using the curriculum. Students have already been recruited for next year and will be grouped together for several of their classes. Durfee uses Your Plan for the Future and will incorporate the college and career planning they already do into the students’ academy experience. There is a dedicated School to Career counselor who is developing work-based learning experiences for the academy students. The WIB has begun to recruit industry partners to be part of the EICC.


Holyoke High School
Holyoke, MA

The Holyoke Public Schools, Holyoke Community College, the City of Holyoke, and the Regional Employment Board of Hampden County received $45,000 to develop a Career Academy at Holyoke High School focused on health, information technology, and financial and business planning. Partners include Holyoke Community College, University of Massachusetts, UMass Amherst, Mount Holyoke College, Hampshire College, and Westfield State University. Holyoke High School is planning to create one academy with two pathways within it: finance and computer animation. Students have elected to take the initial class, which is a Microsoft Office Skills class and then will be recruited into the academy if they are interested in one of the pathways. The school is planning to develop a sequence of classes beyond the Microsoft class beginning in the 2014-2015 school year. There are several work-based learning activities in place, which will become part of the academy experience. Holyoke High School uses Your Plan for Future, which will also become part of the academy. In May 2013, partners began initial outreach to recruit industry partners to form the EICC.


Phoenix Academy
Lawrence, MA

Lawrence Public Schools, Phoenix Academy Lawrence, and the Merrimack Valley Workforce Investment Board received $40,000 to establish the Lawrence Career Academy which will focus on health and human services, manufacturing and innovation/entrepreneurship for small businesses. Partners include the Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce, Lupoli Companies, Northern Essex Community College, and the University of Massachusetts Lowell. As Phoenix Academy ends its first year, this alternative high school is receiving great support from the community in its development of a career academy, specifically from several local entrepreneurs. The school will partner with Northern Essex Community College to offer the pilot group of academy students a college skills course in conjunction with the school’s career planning course during the first semester. This will lead to an internship during the second semester. Community partners are in the process of forming the EICC and there has been great interest in Lawrence to support this effort. Planning is underway to develop a multi-year academy as the school grows and capacity increases.


Lowell High School Career Academy
Lowell, MA

The Lowell Public Schools and the Greater Lowell Workforce Investment Board received $40,000 to convert the Molloy Alternative High School to the Entrepreneurial Career Academy, which will focus on life sciences, health, and manufacturing. Partners include the United Teen Equality Center, UMass Lowell, Middlesex Community College, the Greater Lowell Community Foundation, the Lowell Middlesex Academy Charter School, the Greater Lowell Technical School, the Greater Lowell Chamber of Commerce, the Lowell Community Health Center, the Merrimack Small Business Center, Lowell General Hospital, the Merrimack Valley Sandbox, and the Career Center of Lowell. The team is working to create project-based and interdisciplinary curricula for both thematic classes as well as core content classes. The new students and families recently had their first orientation for next year. The project leader is presenting to the WIB at the next meeting to kick off the development of the EICC.


Methuen High School
Methuen, MA

Methuen High School received $40,000 to create a Biotech/Engineering Career Academy. Partners include the Jean D’Arc Credit Union, Lucent Technologies, Northern Essex Community College, Pfizer, and Lahey Clinic. Methuen High School has a team of teachers from all disciplines as well as a team of administrators that are working to design their biotech career academy. The academy will begin as a unit of an exploratory course that all freshmen take. Once students join the academy in their sophomore year, they will travel together for all of their classes. An industry partner will help write the biotech curriculum and many community members have agreed to host work-based learning opportunities. The school has an existing committee that will become the EICC with the addition of some biotech industry partners and other strategic members.


New Bedford High School
New Bedford, MA

New Bedford High School received $40,000 to launch the New Bedford Academy of Engineering within the high school. The Academy will focus on advanced manufacturing, clean energy, health care, and the STEM fields. Partners include the New Bedford Economic Development Council, Lockheed-Martin, Precix Manufacturing, the New Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce, the Marine Renewable Energy Center, Bristol Community College, UMass Dartmouth, the Southeast Advanced Manufacturing Consortium, EHealth Learning, First Citizens’ Bank, and the New Bedford Industrial Foundation. New Bedford High School began planning an Academy of Engineering through the National Academy Foundation (NAF) almost two years ago and met the requirements to become a NAF Academy in May 2013. Students were recruited for next year and will travel together for their engineering, math, and English classes. The engineering labs are established and the teachers are trained to use the Paxton Patterson engineering curriculum. The teachers are also receiving training in Your Plan for the Future and are incorporating a two week career exploration unit related to the specific engineering class into each academy class. While the career academy has a functioning advisory board, the school has a dedicated person to develop an EICC to support the growth of career academies at the school.


Tauton Alternative High School
Taunton, MA

The Taunton Public Schools and the Bristol Workforce Investment board received $40,000 to create the Taunton Alternative High School Career Academy. This program will focus on students at risk of dropping out of school and will center in three areas: health care professions, early childhood education and information technology. Partners include the Taunton Career Center, Bristol Community College, Bridgewater State University, Triumph, Inc., and Johnson & Johnson. Taunton Alternative High School opened its doors in February 2013 and is still in the process of being formed, which allows great flexibility for the development of a career academy. A Career Counselor is establishing community partners and has planned several work-based learning experiences. Community partners are investigating the capacity of Taunton to support work-based learning activities of different themes. A recruitment breakfast is being planned to develop the EICC.


North High School
Worcester, MA

Worcester Public Schools and the Central Massachusetts Workforce Investment Board received $45,000 to establish a Career Academy within North High School that will focus on STEM careers. Partners include the Latino Education Institute at Worcester State University and Quinsigamond Community College. A team manager has just been identified to lead the effort of expanding and further developing the Science, Technology, and Business Academy at North High School. The design team is kicking off their planning while using the experience of its members who already run several career programs. The students have been selected for next year and a major effort will be completed this summer to revise the master schedule to ensure teachers will have time to work together and the students will travel together. There will also be an emphasis on improving the existing curriculum for the students. The WIB is excited to begin recruiting community partners to launch the EICC.