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University of Colorado Denver Launches New Initiative to Increase Access to Tech Education, Careers


With support from Apple, CU Denver will launch new educational offerings, teacher professional learning with partners in St. Vrain Valley Schools, Aurora Public Schools and Jefferson County Schools to grow a diverse tech-talent pipeline

Thousands of students living in the Denver metro area will have more opportunities to embrace technology and prepare for well-paid STEAM careers thanks to a new University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver) initiative made possible with support from Apple.

Through its Community Education Initiative, Apple has donated an expansive technology hardware package and is supporting student scholarships, curriculum development and teacher training through the P-TEACH and Pathways to Teaching programs.

Under the leadership of CU Denver’s School of Education and Human Development, the university will work with St. Vrain Valley School District (in Longmont, Col.), and with select high schools in Aurora Public Schools and Jefferson County Schools to support the deployment of tech education, equitable access and innovation in the classroom. CU Denver selected the schools to be inaugural partners of an innovation community that will develop a robust pipeline of diverse students exposed to STEAM from kindergarten through college. Each district has demonstrated a commitment to innovation, has growing Latin X populations and is committed to equitable tech access.

Through this partnership, CU Denver is helping create a tech-talent pipeline that will support workforce needs across the Denver Metro Area and throughout the state by exposing teachers and students to Apple’s Swift Coding and Everyone Can Create curriculum. For students, it means getting exposed and inspired to pursue in-demand, STEAM-focused careers with promising workforce pathways. In 2021, the median annual wage for computer and information technology occupations was $97,430, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

With over half of CU Denver’s student population identifying as a person of color and two-thirds of graduates staying local, the university is uniquely positioned to support the growth of an increasingly diverse workforce in tech for Colorado and across the nation.

“At the University of Colorado Denver, we believe that education should work for the talented many, not just the privileged few. Our partnership with Apple and collaboration with the broader education community in Colorado will enhance access to cutting-edge learning opportunities, which can boost student success and fuels talent pipelines. That equals life-changing community impact,” said Michelle Marks, PhD, chancellor of CU Denver. “Through this partnership, we are catalyzing workforce and economic development for Denver and Colorado and helping build the diverse tech talent pipeline our state, our nation, and the world need.”

According to the CBRE 2021 Tech Talent report, Colorado tech careers have grown 31.1 percent over the past five years and continue to be one of the fastest growing sectors within the state, yet it lags in attracting candidates from historically underrepresented populations.

“CU Denver’s mission is to make higher education work for all,” said CU Denver’s Managing Director of Partnerships and Innovation Anthony E. Graves. “This means developing innovative, future-focused partnerships that increase access to high-quality educational experiences. We couldn’t be more thrilled to partner with Apple to expand tech education and access for teachers and students in classrooms across the Denver-metro region.”

“We believe all students should have access to cutting-edge learning opportunities that help prepare them for the careers of today and tomorrow,” said Stacy Erb, Director of Apple’s Community Education Initiative. “By equipping educators and students across the region with critical skills, this initiative will open doors for the next generation of tech leaders to make their mark on the world.”

For additional information about partnering with CU Denver, please visit ucdenver.edu/innovation.



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