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The Summer Careers Academy is a new, registered youth apprenticeship program. This eight week career training program that takes place in the summer and connects local learners (ages 16-24) with new skills and paid work experiences in compelling career pathways. Read the Oct 2021 announcement.


The inaugural program is open to all Chapel Hill-Carrboro/Orange County youth and young adults (ages 16-24) and is specially designed to meet the needs of those from refugee and migrant families as well as low income students and students of color.

When & Where

The Summer Careers Academy is launching in Orange County, NC in the Summer of 2022 with a focus on the skilled trades and will expand to other industries (e.g., health care and IT) and other counties throughout the Triangle Region in subsequent years.

Steering Committee

The Summer Careers Academy Steering Committee is a diverse coalition of leaders from educational institutions, employer groups, and governmental agencies as well as community volunteers and experts, who are dedicated to building a skilled talent pipeline for the future. Members include representatives from: Chapel Hill-Carrboro City SchoolsOrange County SchoolsDurham Technical Community College, the Home Builders Association of Durham, Orange, and Chatham CountiesThe Chamber For a Greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro, ApprenticeshipNC, the Chapel Hill Town Council, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education, as well as experts James (Jim) Porto, Ph.D., and Berman (Keith) Sipe. Together, the Steering Committee is guiding the development of the Summer Careers Academy according to the principles of Collective Impact.

Research & Design

The design of the Summer Careers Academy model was informed with findings from the Skilled Construction Trades Study (read the press release), which was commissioned by the Orange County Board of Commissioners and funded by the Orange County Government in 2019, and conducted by The Chamber For a Greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro in 2020. The study surfaced four promising training program models, including the Catawba Valley Construction Career Academy, which is an employer-led, low-cost, high-performance model that became the blueprint for the new Summer Careers Academy.

Founding Funders & Fiscal Agents

Two founding investors made the Summer Careers Academy vision a reality. The NC Education and Innovation Workforce Commission provided significant state funds through a competitive grant process and The William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust provided the private matching contribution. The Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools stewards the public funds and the Home Builders Association of Durham, Orange, and Chatham Counties Foundation is the trusted fiscal agent for the private funds.


The Steering Committee acknowledges several individuals and organizations that were involved in the development of the Summer Careers Academy, including but not limited to Durham Public Schools and the WayMakers CollaborativeHope RenovationsOrange County Board of Commissioners, Orange County Schools Board of Education, and the Regional Partnership Workforce Development Board.


The coalition was ignited in March of 2021 by Chapel Hill Town Council Member Tai Huynh. The original intent was to re-establish an apprenticeship program in the skilled trades with the Town of Chapel Hill and in doing so, better reach children of refugees and other underserved populations with new training opportunities for careers that provide a living wage. The working group expanded the vision to engage more employers and industries and developed the Summer Careers Academy concept. By Summer 2021, the coalition secured public and private funds to bring to life the vision for a new youth apprenticeship program, called the Summer Careers Academy. The program was announced in October 2021launched in February 2022, and will welcome the inaugural cohort in Summer 2022.