Video games, coding, robotics, health care and mechanical engineering. They might seem like clubs or electives, but these actually make up some of the dozens of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs and opportunities in Denver Public Schools (DPS).
Thanks to the backing of Denver businesses, universities and other community partners, STEM opportunities are expanding in DPS, which is one of only 24 agencies nationwide to receive a Youth CareerConnect grant from the US Departments of Labor and Education.
The million grant is among the largest grants awarded through the program. Through the work of the DPS Foundation, the Denver community has stepped up to add to this investment in dramatically improving career and technical education—with a special focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programs—by providing a .3 million match to the federal grant, raising the grant total to .3 million.
DPS is one of six agencies nationwide to receive the highest grant amount of million.
Eight Denver high schools will benefit from the Youth CareerConnect grant, which will expand career and technical education programs focused on the following industries: engineering, health and medicine, digital careers, finance, information technology, energy and manufacturing.
The Youth CareerConnect grant will expand programs that provide opportunities for students to participate in a paid internship or job shadow and complete a capstone project that demonstrates how they applied the skills and knowledge learned in the classroom to their workplace-based learning experience.
DPS will also work with workforce investment partners to provide career fairs and summer industry academies.
As part of the grant investment and via the DPS Foundation, more than 30 community partners, from both public and private sectors, have committed ,333,000 in cash and in-kind contributions to fund the implementation of the new STEM-related curriculum pathways.
Community support for the grant came from a cross-section of businesses, higher education institutions, city offices and community and statewide organizations.
A list of partial funders includes QEP Resources, Campos EPC, RK Mechanical, Metro State University of Denver, Community College of Denver, Arapahoe Community College, Red Rocks Community College, the City of Denver, Colorado Technology Association, Colorado Advanced Manufacturing Alliance and Colorado Bioscience Institute.
For a full list of funders, please visit www.dpsfoundation.org.