About Us

Program Overview

The DC Career Academy Network (DC CAN) supports the establishment and continued development of NAF career academies at DC public and public charter high schools. DC CAN promotes the District's mission to strengthen the pipeline to college and careers, as envisioned in the District's Career and Technical Education (CTE) Strategic Plan.

The NAF career academy model includes rigorous, industry-focused curricula, integrated industry partnerships, and work-based learning experiences. NAF academy students have higher attendance, school engagement, academic performance, graduation, college enrollment and completion, employment, and salaries than peers who do not attend NAF academies.

The Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) provides local funding to eligible schools for the implementation of the academies. These funds cover academy personnel (for two years) and academy activities. Local education agencies (LEAs) and school administrators provide essential supports to the academies as they develop.

Our Partners

To effectively implement the career academies, OSSE has contracted with NAF, established an Executive Advisory Board, and developed Industry Advisory Boards that each govern specific career themes in Engineering (AOE), Health Sciences (AOHS), Hospitality & Tourism (AOHT), and Information Technology (AOIT).


NAF is a national network of education, business, and community leaders who work together to ensure high school students are college, career and future ready. NAF has a 30-year record of success in implementing high school career academies and realizes the competencies needed to graduate college and career ready students. NAF solves some of the biggest challenges facing education and the economy by bringing education, business, and community leaders together to transform the high school experience.

NAF's educational design features industry-specific curricula and work-based learning experiences, including internships. In addition to academic courses, students take industry-specific classes related to these themes and participate in work-based learning activities to put their lessons into action.

The NAF Educational Design is made up of four essential elements of practice:

  • Academy Development & Structure – small, focused learning communities that fit within and enhance high school systems;
  • Curriculum & Instruction – industry-validated, career-themed curriculum that incorporates current industry standards and practices in non-traditional ways that ensure lessons have real-world applications;
  • Advisory Board – an essential bridge between schools and the workplace; and,
  • Work-Based Learning –a continuum of learning experiences beginning with career awareness activities, progressing to career exploration activities, and culminating in career preparation activities, including internships.

The DC CAN Executive Advisory Board (EAB)

The DC CAN Executive Advisory Board was established to provide coordinated leadership among representative industry and postsecondary entities to enhance school-to-career opportunities by:

  • Developing, implementing, and revising annual and long-range strategic plans for the academies;
  • Seeking broad-based support and partnerships across the District of Columbia to support the goals of the DC Industry Advisory Boards;
  • Assisting to secure resources to support and coordinate academy activities and events;
  • Setting policy;
  • Strengthening public relations and advocacy to support the successful implementation of the NAF academies; and
  • Reviewing the development of the academies.

The Executive Advisory Board is comprised of respresentatives from the following entities:

  • The Chairs of each of the DC CAN Industry Advisory Boards
  • The Assistant Superintendent (or designee) of the Office of the State Superintendent of Education
  • The Local Education Agency
  • Local colleges or universities
  • An academy Principal from each theme
  • The Workforce Investment Council
  • The Chamber of Commerce
  • The Federal City Council

The DC CAN Industry Advisory Boards (IABs)

One of the key characteristics of NAF academies is the working relationship with industry partners. The Industry Advisory Boards (IAB) provide resources to ensure the stability and sustainability of the academy. The IABs are comprised of leading educators and industry executives from the Washington, DC region.

Local Education Agencies (LEAs)

Our LEAs are key partners within the network as they apply for funding to implement academies, hire core personnel, work with industry partners to ensure that the curriculum is relevant, and provide support to work-based learning activities.