The Duluth Academy

News release from Pakou Ly, public information coordinator for the city of Duluth:

An unprecedented partnership between the city of Duluth, Duluth Public Schools and Lake Superior College was announced today that will create an innovative educational, workforce development and community enrichment hub called the Duluth Academy.

Mayor Don Ness, I.S.D. 709 Superintendent Keith Dixon and LSC President Patrick Johns described the many advantages the Duluth Academy will have for the community, including the campus’ central location within Historic Old Central High School. Additional programming will be provided at LSC and online.

“The Duluth Academy will be a center of educational innovation, a vital link to our local economy, and a strong, modern educational anchor in the center of our city,” said Mayor Ness. “This partnership will help define the future of public education in Duluth, and the building that has symbolized Duluth public schools for the past 120 years will now be home to this very modern and innovative model.”

The Duluth Academy is intended to provide a multitude of educational opportunities, including:

Project-based learning
Online learning
College preparation
Post-secondary enrollment options
Individual assessment
Adult education opportunities
On-the-job training/internships
Work-based learning
Vocational/tech ed
Apprenticeships, training for the trades
Enrichment opportunities

“Strengthening our workforce through education and skill development is the key to a healthy local economy and future job growth,” added Mayor Ness. “One of the first questions prospective companies ask about is the availability of a qualified workforce. I’m convinced that the Duluth Academy is going to result in a competitive advantage in our ability to attract these major employers to Duluth. I greatly appreciate the leadership and partnership of the Duluth Public Schools and Lake Superior College for their commitment to this model.”

Superintendent Dixon said Mayor Ness first presented his vision of partnering on the concept of a Duluth Academy nearly two years ago and it has since evolved.

“Mayor Ness sought to maximize the combined resources of the city and the school district to provide new educational and employment opportunities for Duluth citizens, and since then we’ve been jointly exploring the possibilities,” said Dr. Dixon. “Over the past year we’ve met several times to incorporate our existing programming, refine the concept and expand on its potential, including asking Lake Superior College to be part of this unique partnership with its many great resources.

“Students will be able to personalize their learning through a variety of educational opportunities such as project-based learning, college prep, online learning, work-based learning, and much more.”

LSC President Johns said various forms of these programs are already offered by Lake Superior College and Duluth Public Schools.

“Many of these educational opportunities already exist in Duluth, so we’re not necessarily reinventing the wheel,” said Dr. Johns. “But what we’re proposing is an excellent new way of meeting the programming, scheduling and job-placement needs of an ever-changing citizenry. All three partnering organizations know the difficulties associated with balancing education with jobs, family commitments and other day-to-day realities. The Duluth Academy will help provide that answer for hundreds of people.”

Mayor Ness said the next steps are for the partnering organizations to engage various stakeholder groups to develop an in-depth plan, finalize details during the coming year and begin implementation of the Duluth Academy in the fall of 2011.

5 Comments

heysme

about 13 years ago

I was just reading this on the DNT -- it sounds like a great opportunity for those kids that will fit into that structure. Is it good for the workforce? I'm not sure. 

MPR was just discussing the decline in formal college education in the 4 years and plus area -- a very dramatic decrease across the country. Maybe the former Duluth Tech school should not have combined with the Community College - this new system will kind of reinvent the wheel:)

Brian

about 13 years ago

Is it just me, or does Don Ness have the political accumen of a Kennedy? He always lines up on the photo-op worthy side of an issue.

hbh1

about 13 years ago

It could be argued that the reason for the "formal college education" decline is because people are realizing that going into huge debt and then not ever finding a decent job to pay off that debt is not a good deal. The myth of the college pay-off has been busted.

When I was young and growing up in an exurb of Chicago, I thought it was somehow shameful or less-than to go to a community college. I now would advocate it for most people as a good place to start.

girlfromnorthcountry

about 13 years ago

@hbh1, community college is also a great place to get your basic classes out of the way at a ridiculously reduced rate. Post-secondary education is a business just like any other; it relies on students as its customers, and those students are becoming smarter with their dollars out of necessity.

heysme

about 13 years ago

How about not creating the program - strengthen the workforce by using the existing opportunities we already have in place. Or, give area businesses the boost by offering tax credits or money to provide their own training. Will the program employ city, state or fed employees? What happens to the Mn Workforce Development Center in Duluth?  I love Duluth and our leaders but so many people are fighting for the same dollars - I believe it makes sense to use what we have while the economy settles.

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