Invest in Your Strengths Radio Show Wins Metcalf Award for Diversity in the Media

PROVIDENCE, RI – April 26, 2017 – Academy for Career Exploration Focuses on

Strengths in Award Winning Radio Program



The Academy for Career Exploration’s determination to advance innovation in

education, enhance student opportunities, and improve parent and community

engagement, has once again brought recognition to this pioneering

Providence Public Charter High School. *“Invest in Your Strengths,”*

written and produced by Vanessa Toledo-Vickers of the Academy for Career

Exploration and *Latino Public Radio*, will be honored by Rhode Island for

Community & Justice on May 17th with the Metcalf Award for Diversity in the

Media (Community category).  “Invest in Your Strengths” was launched as a

10-part, bilingual radio and podcast series focused on how ACE, a

Providence public charter high school,  is re-thinking its educational

approach to prepare youth for the 21st century workplace.



Working in partnership with business and community leaders such as Tim

Hebert, Chief Client Officer of Carousel Industries and Leadership Rhode

Island, the Academy for Career Exploration <> (ACE)

is committed to becoming the state’s first strengths-based high school.

“Our goal is to help students, faculty and staff discover their innate

talents and then develop them into strengths,” said Dr. Mario F. Cirillo,

Head of School. “At ACE we are teaching students both core academics and

marketable workplace skills. Our strengths-based approach is inviting them

to think about how their strengths and interests can make a difference in

industry and in service to their community. We’ve made a commitment to make

dramatic changes in our approach to education in order to provide equal

access and opportunity for some of Rhode Island’s most underprivileged




“We were impressed by the comprehensiveness of this project:  by the

partnership between a school and radio station; the bilingual interviews

and materials; the nature of an educational effort that seeks to build a

conversation within the school and outside in the larger community about

the strengths and talents youth possess rather than their deficits,”

stated Toby

Ayers, PhD, Executive Director, Rhode Island for Community & Justice.

“Toledo Vickers does an exemplary job of showing how ACE is helping

students discover their passions and talents so they can develop career

paths that incorporate these.”



Calling on past success in the radio genre, Toledo-Vickers conceived of the

Radio Show as a way to connect with parents to inform and engage them.

Recognizing the challenges that low income families face when it comes to

connecting with teachers and school activities because of work and

transportation constraints, the radio format allows ACE to meet parents

where they are. Show topics have focused on expanding career opportunities

in technology, the intersection between education and health, and what it

means to know and develop one’s strengths, and more. With “Invest in Your

Strengths” Toledo-Vickers has effectively captured the attention of the

Latino Public Radio listening audience while generating dialogue with

industry, civic, and community leaders about these important topics and the

many challenges affecting ACE students and their families.


In addition to being the Director of Development at the Academy for Career

Exploration, Ms. Toledo-Vickers sits on the board of CommerceRI and is a

Leadership RI graduate (LRI ’01), which makes her and the Academy for

Career Exploration important contributors to the LRI led initiative to make

Rhode Island the first Strengths-based state and ultimately help Make RI




The Academy for Career Exploration (ACE) is a public charter high school

that offers an academic program with a focus on career pathways in

technology.  For more information about ACE, “Invest in Your Strengths,” or

the Gallup StrengthsFinder, visit or