Foundation Formed To Spur Partnerships To Create Business-School 'Academies'

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Washington--A group of business, education, and public-policy leaders last week announced the formation of a national foundation to promote career-oriented "academies" operated jointly by the private sector and the schools.

The chief purpose of the National Academy Foundation, its organizers said, will be to increase the preparedness of the workforce by fostering partnerships modeled after the Academy of Finance, a widely used program piloted seven years ago by the American Express Company, Shearson Lehman Hutton, and the New York City Public Schools.

Vernon E. Jordan Jr., chairman of the foundation, said it represents ''a constructive response by business to the President's education initiative."

The Academy of Finance, which now reaches more than 2,000 students in 35 programs in 17 cities, has offered students "a starting point for a professional career where none may have existed," Mr. Jordan said.

Foundation officials last week declined to name companies that have expressed interest in duplicating the academy concept in fields other than finance.

Former Secretary of Labor Ann D. McLaughlin, who will serve on the foundation's board of directors, said the group will seek to transfer the idea to such business sectors as manufacturing, sciences, accounting, insurance, marketing, communications, and public service.

Courses and Internships

The foundation incorporates the finance academy and a spinoff, the Academy of Travel and Tourism, which was started in New York City and Miami in 1986 and is now operating in four schools, said Phyllis R. Frankfort, the foundation's executive director.

The Academy of Finance, a two-year program for juniors and seniors in public high schools, offers a special curriculum designed by industry experts as well as paid summer internships in brokerage houses and other finance-related businesses. More than 90 percent of academy graduates have continued their education beyond high school, according to the foundation.

Ms. Frankfort said the foundation's budget for its first year is $1 million, funded mostly by American Express and Shearson Lehman Hutton. ''The hope is that there will be corporations that want academies in areas where they have their headquarters and branches, and they will support the foundation to expand our existing program," she said.

The foundation will use its resources to provide grants, curriculum materials, and technical assistance to school districts and to finance national activities, tracking, and quality control, Ms. Frankfort added.

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