The NAF Academy model consists of three critical components:
- A career-themed small learning community comprises the resources, leadership, and supports needed to sustain the Academy and features NAF's curriculum--designed, reviewed, and updated regularly by a team of educators and industry experts;
- Community partnerships includes the collaboration between the school and the larger community, toward the development of local advisory boards and paid student internships--a critical factor in connecting the "real world" to classroom study;
- Professional development ensures that all stakeholders have regular opportunities to enhance their academy related skills and competencies through NAF conferences, technical assistance materials, and other local activities
The Academy program also features:
- Six- to eight-week paid internships at local small businesses, government agencies and corporations
- An introduction to all facets of the industry (finance, travel & tourism, or information technology) and exposure to current technology, through such activities as job shadowing, mentoring, and field trips
- Strong encouragement to take two years of mathematics, computer applications, and study of a foreign language--disciplines readily applicable to careers in the industry
- A way for students to earn college credits while in high school--and the opportunity to attend conferences, trade shows, and college fairs
- Enhanced opportunities for employment after graduation.
Students see the connections between what they learn in school and the larger world. They learn skills and self-confidence, but they also learn about opportunities. In short - they experience an easier transition to adult life.
Although the Academy operates within high schools, higher education also plays a role. Besides helping with curriculum development, local colleges may offer college courses to Academy seniors, and college planning services and articulation agreements to program graduates.