Akron Public Schools Announces Major New Collaborations and Partnerships

May 16, 2017

The philanthropic arm of the Ford Motor Co. is designating Akron Public Schools as a ‘Next Generation Learning Community’ and will financially help with the college and career academies in the districts' high schools. At the same time Kent State University announced a new partnership with the academies. 

Kent State University President Beverly Warren with Akron Public Schools students
Credit Tim Rudell / WKSU

The Ford designation helps districts like Akron develop high-school programs that prepare students for career and college prospects at the same time,

The Kent State partnership expands the Akron academies into subjects like architecture and fashion, and a new way of thinking about problem-solving through a design perspective.

Kent State University President Beverley Warren joined in the announcement.

“Our partnership was founded on this idea of seeing if we could establish an innovation system in which design thinking sits at the core of all that we do with Akron Public Schools.” And she says, the principles and power of design thinking can be applied in any career. 

Last year, the Ford Motor Company Fund invested $18-million nationally in education initiatives such as Next Generation Communities.

Also during Tuesday’s gathering at the Stem Middle School in downtown Akron, Kent State's Warren announced a a ‘micro-scholarship’ program for Akron Public School students who excel in the college and career academies. She says successful course work can earn Akron high school students future tuition credits at Kent State. Over four years, that could save students up to $4,800.

“We’re so glad to have Akron schools as a partner in these micro-scholarships because we think it will be motivation for young people to think about where they’re headed and to pay attention to their grades from the ninth grade on. And they have the opportunity to cash that in with a micro-scholarship.”