iLEAD Academy is Kentucky’s first regional Career Academy, serving 30 high school students across five rural counties in its inaugural class. iLEAD’s Rural Tech Project program is creating a more accessible college entry point in a community where 11.6% of adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher and the median household income is $50,295 — $78,000 less than the average salary of a Cloud Engineer. This program, therefore, will focus on providing students with the support they need to attain in-demand careers.
To accomplish this, iLEAD is eliminating barriers to computer science education. The program aims to give students opportunities to earn college credits and industry certifications, learn fundamentals of AI, participate in work-based learning, and demonstrate competencies to employers. iLEAD plans to create a “Virtual Computer Science Career Academy” that prepares students for fast-growing, high-wage STEM jobs, aligning courses with workforce demand. This virtual career academy is intended to match program design to employer needs by engaging industry stakeholders and identifying career-ready skills to be competitive in the tech workforce.
With Phase 2 underway, teachers at iLEAD are utilizing innovative, virtual teaching strategies to reach students in its five school districts. Students are taking four college courses — Digital Literacy, Computational Thinking, Java, and Python — and will earn four industry certifications. These college courses will lead to completion of a computer science associate degree at Jefferson Community and Technical College and a computer science bachelor’s degree at Northern Kentucky University. The INTERalliance of Greater Cincinnati will provide work-based learning experiences, mentoring, and paid internships. As part of their education, students will have access to a variety of educational activities and resources, including a small learning community, a college-prep sequential curriculum with a career theme, and an advisory board that forges partnerships with employers, higher education institutions, and the community.
How to get in touch:
- Community Engagement Manager: Heather Ackels
- Team Lead: Alicia Sells
Learn about iLEAD: