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News > General > ADE Diversifies Design Career Pipeline One Class at a Time

ADE Diversifies Design Career Pipeline One Class at a Time

Volunteers are opening doors and creating magic moments of self-efficacy in Philadelphia classes.
9 Mar 2023
Written by Carly Clifford

Do you remember the first time you put pen to paper and brought to life what was rattling around in your head, an idea, a daydream? What about the first time your drawing became reality, built in real life? That proud feeling might have felt almost magical, knowing that if it were not for your ideas and thoughts, the creation would be obsolete. These feelings of creativity, magic, accomplishment, and pride are what the Architecture and Design Education (ADE) program aims to achieve by introducing students to a new way of learning and new dreams for their future. The goal is to show students that a career in a design field is not only accessible but also within reach.

Diversity in design education is inadequate. ADE volunteers have heard first-hand how regulations and budget cuts in school districts have limited the choices of hands-on learning opportunities in the classroom. This directly affects students' grasp of design thinking. The skills associated with design education include teamwork, critical thinking, and creativity — skills that apply to almost any career.

The ADE program tackles all of these challenges with the overarching goal of diversifying the design career pipeline. This spring, ADE volunteer teams are in 9 different classrooms across the Philadelphia School District with the following goals in mind. 

  • Make more BIPOC and Latinx students aware of the career opportunities in design. 
  • Introduce students to professionals to broaden their understanding of the career field. 
  • Create space for students to explore otherwise limited exposure to design thinking strategies.
  • Allow the space for K-12 students to learn the state's curriculum while diving into the hands-on magic that learning should hold. 

ADE is always looking for more volunteers, and not just architects, all design disciplines are welcome. Do you enjoy working with students? Do you want to be the catalyst that creates the moment that makes students' brains “click” when they realize their potential? To learn more about volunteering, please contact Carly Clifford, ADE program coordinator, at

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