June 15, 2020 - Earlier this month the Colorado State Youth Council (SYC) awarded six organizations with Tech Bridge grants to increase access to technology for Colorado youth. The SYC announced the funding opportunity in late May to address the growing technology divide that hinders Colorado youth from accessing career and education opportunities and decreases their ability to build the skills necessary to compete in an increasingly technology-enabled workforce.
The impact of COVID-19 and efforts to mitigate the pandemic have imposed massive challenges to the economy and the way young people in Colorado train for and secure work. A needs assessment conducted by the Colorado Department of Education found that 55,000 students across the state do not have access to a wi-fi enabled device. This number is likely greater when you consider the needs of opportunity youth aged 16-24 who are not currently connected to a K-12 school.
The SYC received 51 applications for the Tech Bridge grant opportunity. Of these applications, the SYC is excited to announce awards to six organizations, whose work you can read about below.
Help Connect Youth With Technology
The SYC is humbled by the ongoing need for access to technology as demonstrated in the received applications. Donors and funders who are interested in increasing access to technology for Colorado youth to support their career and education needs are encouraged to contact the State Youth Council at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss opportunities to invest in the organizations the SYC was unable to award.
Congratulations to the 2020 Tech Bridge Grantees:
Groundwork Denver - $1,300
The mission of Groundwork Denver serves to bring about a sustained improvement of the physical environment and promote health and well-being through community-based partnerships and action. The funds will be used to purchase laptops and modems to allow for the virtual engagement of youth in the summer Green Team Youth Employment Program. The program will engage youth in community projects focused on healthy food access, natural resource management, water stewardship, outdoor recreation, and civic engagement. Participating youth are predominantly low-income youth of color in Globeville/Elyria-Swansea, Aurora, Northeast Park Hill, Westwood, Commerce City, and Sheridan. Learn more about Groundwork Denver.
Workforce Boulder County - $2,500
Workforce Boulder County is a multi-service agency that provides evidenced-based services in education, workforce training, and employment. The Tech Bridge grant will be used to provide tablets for opportunity youth working towards their high school equivalency diploma and career goals. Learn more about Workforce Boulder County.
Silver Lining House - $2,500
Silver Lining House is an urban, transformational housing program serving homeless young adults and helping them to move towards self-sufficiency. Funds will be used to purchase laptops for use by homeless youth for academic and vocational training. Learn more about Silver Lining House.
Mile High Youth Corps - $1,750
Mile High Youth Corps provides youth aged 17-24 the opportunity to receive hands-on career-readiness training in construction and earn industry-recognized certifications and a high school equivalency diploma while getting paid a bi-weekly living stipend. The Tech Bridge grant will be used to purchase laptops for youth to work towards their high school equivalency diploma and engage in leadership development activities, career readiness and post-secondary education preparation, supportive services meetings, and construction safety trainings. Learn more about Mile High Youth Corps.
Rocky Ford School District - $1,590
The Rocky Ford School District population consists of approximately 70 percent of students that are minorities and roughly 70 percent that qualify for the free or reduced lunch program. The surrounding counties have struggled to provide adequate broadband access making it difficult to engage in virtual school and work opportunities. Funds will be used to purchase wide angle cameras so that youth can participate in virtual conferencing with their internship employers and participate in remote/distance learning as needed during the school year. Learn more about Rocky Ford School District.
Greeley Dream Team - $1,300
The Greeley Dream Team is a non-profit that works in collaboration with Greeley-Evans School District 6 to “partner with the community to help children succeed in school.” Funds will be used to purchase laptops and protective sleeves for youth to secure and retain employment and continue working towards their workforce and education goals. Learn more about the Greeley Dream Team.