Little Black Pearl Art & Design Academy thrives on building external partnerships that offer opportunities for our students. LBPA students engage in many unique opportunities not available to students in any other school in the City of Chicago. These opportunities have provided internships, jobs, life-time relationships, and college scholarships.


introduces LBPA students to introductory educational programming geared towards the footwear and apparel design industry. Over the past 3 years 18 seniors from LBPA have been awarded full ride scholarships to attend a college of their choice through this program! In 2018 the Jordan Brand debuted the Little Black Pearl design of their Air Jordan V shoe which sold out in less than 1 hour! LBPA students who are interested in learning about how to design and market athletic apparel and are committed to attending Saturday sessions at the State Street flagship store, are eligible to participate.


provides LBPA students with paid internships. Students design artwork that is displayed in the downtown Chicago Champs flagship store located on State Street. Students who are creative, artistic, visionaries, and are able to work collaboratively with their peers are selected to participate in this program.


Since 2016, Little Black Pearl Art & Design Academy has partnered with the Urban Alliance program. Urban Alliance provides high school students with a work experience that builds their pathway to self-sufficiency. Corporate partners offer youth real-world experiences to set them up for future success in college, the job market, and beyond. Within the past three years of this partnership, 15 LBPA students have been employed at some of the top corporations in the City of Chicago (Walgreens Corporate; Bank of America; Rush Hospital; Cook County Circuit Court; etc.). Students can be introduced to the program in as early as the 10th grade. 11th graders participate in a 10-week paid soft-skills training in preparation for a potential senior year internship.

To participate in the program, a student must apply and receive a letter of recommendation from the Counselor to be eligible. Eligibility is also based on a student having at least 19 credits when they reach their senior year; a 2.5 GPA; 90% attendance rating; and be committed to attending training both on and off campus. Because a senior participating in this program is only in school for a half-day, the student will earn three (3) elective credits in addition to their stipend.


Little Black Pearl Art & Design Academy is a proud partner of the Chicago Police and Firefighter Training Academy (CPFTA) program that provides training for students interested in careers in public safety, law enforcement, criminal justice, and fire science. The 2-year program was developed jointly by the Chicago Public Schools’ Department of Career and Technical Education (CTE), the Chicago Police Department (CPD), the Chicago Fire Department (CFD), and the City Colleges of Chicago (CCC). The program recruits and trains up to 250 public and non-public high school students each year. One of the immediate goals is to provide a pool of qualified applicants for the city’s police and fire academies.

The CPFTA program fulfills the two career education or elective credits that all CPS high school students need in order to graduate. The CPFTA curriculum allows juniors and seniors who are city residents to progress seamlessly from high school directly into any City College of Chicago to complete their Associate’s degree.

In addition to high school and college training, students have the opportunity to participate in a paid summer internship between junior and senior year to promote a better understanding of all aspects of careers in public safety. After completion of the two years in high school and two years at a city college, students will have met the minimum educational requirements to take the Chicago Police and Fire Department examinations for entry into their respective academies. Little Black Pearl Art & Design Academy has been affiliated with this program for two years; two of our students have graduated from the program and are currently enrolled in their selected academy.


LBPA students and other Chicago-area youth receive mentoring and tutoring in a variety of subjects including technology, art and music in our after school program.


The Best Buy Teen Tech Center (BBTTC) is a partnership that was developed between Best Buy and Little Black Pearl Workshop in 2011. Youth who live in the City of Chicago and are between the ages of 13-19 years old, can join the BBTTC and gain access to technological tools; resources; a safe and creative environment; develop self-confidence and gain valuable skills through the use of technology. Little Black Pearl strives to offer afterschool and summer programming designed for teenagers to learn in a non-traditional way. The BBTTC provides mentoring and encourages youth to explore their artistic interests in Music, Multimedia, Video, Graphics, Digital Photography, Engineering and Animation. Special workshops are offered solely to our members, and additional digital media learning through our innovative partnerships including: Grammy Camp and Best Buy Geek Squad Academy.

The Best Buy Teen Tech Center at Little Black Pearl is a member of the Clubhouse Network, a global community comprised of 100 Clubhouses in 19 countries, providing 25,000 youth per year with access to resources, skills, and experiences to help them succeed in their careers, contribute to their communities, and lead outstanding lives.