Mayor Michael B. Hancock, Westwood, KidsTek and Denver Public Schools Celebrate Program at High Tech Early College

Public, Private and Nonprofit Partnership Empowers Denver High School Students to Excel in Technology-Focused Education

Mayor Michael B. Hancock, Denver Public Schools Superintendents Tom Boasberg and Antwan Wilson, as well as leadership from KidsTek and Westwood College celebrated the public, private and nonprofit partnership on Jan 25 to teach high school students technology skills and workforce readiness. Photo by Angela McGurk
Mayor Michael B. Hancock, Denver Public Schools Superintendents Tom Boasberg and Antwan Wilson, as well as leadership from KidsTek and Westwood College celebrated the public, private and nonprofit partnership on Jan 25 to teach high school students technology skills and workforce readiness. Photo by Angela McGurk
  • Mayor Michael B. Hancock, Denver Public Schools Superintendents Tom Boasberg and Antwan Wilson, as well as leadership from KidsTek and Westwood College celebrated the public, private and nonprofit partnership on Jan 25 to teach high school students technology skills and workforce readiness. Photo by Angela McGurk
    Mayor Michael B. Hancock, Denver Public Schools Superintendents Tom Boasberg and Antwan Wilson, as well as leadership from KidsTek and Westwood College celebrated the public, private and nonprofit partnership on Jan 25 to teach high school students technology skills and workforce readiness. Photo by Angela McGurk
    Mayor Michael B. Hancock, Denver Public Schools Superintendents Tom Boasberg and Antwan Wilson, as well as leadership from KidsTek and Westwood College celebrated the public, private and nonprofit partnership on Jan 25 to teach high school students technology skills and workforce readiness. Photo by Angela McGurk
    Mayor Michael B. Hancock, Denver Public Schools Superintendents Tom Boasberg and Antwan Wilson, as well as leadership from KidsTek and Westwood College celebrated the public, private and nonprofit partnership on Jan 25 to teach high school students technology skills and workforce readiness. Photo by Angela McGurk
  • Mayor Michael B. Hancock spoke to more than 100 students of High Tech Early College and challenged the students to be the best that they can be. Photo by Angela McGurk
    Mayor Michael B. Hancock spoke to more than 100 students of High Tech Early College and challenged the students to be the best that they can be. Photo by Angela McGurk
    Mayor Michael B. Hancock spoke to more than 100 students of High Tech Early College and challenged the students to be the best that they can be. Photo by Angela McGurk
    Mayor Michael B. Hancock spoke to more than 100 students of High Tech Early College and challenged the students to be the best that they can be. Photo by Angela McGurk
  • The event featured a student panel discussion including DPS high school students and a Westwood College student and alumni who have chosen to focus their education and careers in technology. Photo by Angela McGurk
    The event featured a student panel discussion including DPS high school students and a Westwood College student and alumni who have chosen to focus their education and careers in technology. Photo by Angela McGurk
    The event featured a student panel discussion including DPS high school students and a Westwood College student and alumni who have chosen to focus their education and careers in technology. Photo by Angela McGurk
    The event featured a student panel discussion including DPS high school students and a Westwood College student and alumni who have chosen to focus their education and careers in technology. Photo by Angela McGurk

City, education and nonprofit leaders from Denver celebrated a milestone in technology education, highlighting a public/private/nonprofit partnership with the shared goal of empowering Denver’s youth to gain education to prepare them for a technology-focused career. The Jan. 25 event at High Tech Early College featured Mayor Michael B. Hancock and Denver Public Schools (DPS) Superintendents Tom Boasberg and Antwan Wilson in recognition of the Westwood College-KidsTek program. The rigorous program, currently offered to high school students at North High School and High Tech Early College, provides students with the opportunity to learn valuable technology skills and earn industry-related certifications through the Cisco Networking Academy curriculum.

Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock challenged the students of High Tech Early College to seek greatness. “We need you to be the very best you can be. That is why all these partners have come together, to give you an opportunity. As your Mayor, I ask you to try your very best so when we go out there, we can tell every company - every person - bring your jobs here. We have young people ready to take on the world and compete.”

This inventive program officially kicked off at the beginning of the 2011-12 school year and is the result of support from Westwood College and KidsTek. Westwood College’s support of it extended beyond a $50,000 donation and included equipment, textbooks and staff time for students at North and High Tech Early College. Students who pass the courses can also earn college credit toward an Information Technology degree at Westwood College.

One of the event’s panelists and a Westwood College graduate, Jeff Saulters who currently works as an IP Network Engineer at Level 3 Communications, shared, “My technology-focused education and degree in Computer Network Management (Information Technology: Major in Network Management) was a first step in my successful IT career. Programs like this will be invaluable to these students who are looking to focus their education and future careers in technology – and they are getting a head start while still in high school.”

The Westwood College-KidsTek program at Denver Public Schools affords high school students (currently 26 between North and High Tech Early College) the opportunity to earn A+, CCENT and CCNA Cisco certifications – highly sought after credentials that will jumpstart either their college degree or technological career path, meeting the demands of today’s economy. Twenty-eight students passed the rigorous program in the fall. The organizations hope to expand the program in coming years to provide more students access to technology education.

“All computer-related fields are on track to grow faster than the average projected job growth through 2018,” said Rich Liner, executive director of KidsTek. “If we want to set our kids up for success in this new economy, we need to invest in programs that will give them a leg-up in a technology-focused career.”

The Westwood-KidsTek program reaches underserved students who might not otherwise have the opportunity to excel in a technology-focused education at such a young age. At North, females achieved seven of the 10 highest grades from the Fall 2011 semester. Six of those female students were Hispanic, the most underrepresented group in the female IT workforce. In fact, according to the National Center for Women & IT, only 1% of females in IT are Hispanic.

For more information about Westwood College, visit www.westwood.edu. To see a video clip of the ceremony involving Mayor Hancock, click here.

About Westwood College
Westwood College is an institution of higher learning with 14 campuses located in California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois and Virginia. Westwood offers a hands-on, career-focused curriculum in sought-after fields such as healthcare, technology and business. Westwood is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) and the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), depending on the campus. For more information, visit http://www.westwood.edu.

About KidsTek
KidsTek provides cost-effective tuition-free in-school and afterschool computer education programs to Colorado's disadvantaged youth. Working in partnership with urban public schools and utilizing existing computer labs KidsTek classes give students, from elementary to high school, the tools they need to succeed in modern life. For more information, visit http://www.kidstek.org/.

About Denver Public Schools
Under the leadership of Superintendent Tom Boasberg, Denver Public Schools is committed to making Denver a national leader in student achievement, high school graduation, college and career preparation, and college matriculation. Superintendent Boasberg has a clear vision for Denver Public Schools - become the best urban school district in the nation.  Denver Public Schools serves the residents of the City and County of Denver, Colorado; 58.4% of the school district is Latino, 14.6% is African American, and 19.8% is Anglo. Seventy-two percent of the district's students qualify for free and reduced lunch. The current student enrollment is 79,423. DPS is comprised of 73 Elementary, 16 K-8, 16 Middle, 12 traditional High, 30 Charter and 10 Alternative, including 6 intensive pathway schools. For more information, visit http://www.dpsk12.org.