Throughout Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month, Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF) is celebrating the ways in which we support our Scholars in their pursuit of a certificate or associate degree.
A four-year degree, while considered the most popular college pathway, is not the only way for students to prepare for a lucrative career. Alternatively, through shorter programs that focus on hands-on skills, CTE helps DSF Scholars jumpstart their entrance into the workforce through a certificate or associate degree.
In conjunction with the CareerConnect program established by Denver Public Schools (DPS), DSF creates opportunities for high school students to explore CTE pathways starting our Future Centers. Inside our Future Centers, DSF College Advisors help students find the right fit for their goals—academically, socially, and financially. Through field trips to technical colleges and other exposure events, students experience demonstrations of what they could be doing on a day-to-day basis if they pursue skilled trades.
Field trips to DSF’s college partners, including the Community College of Denver, Emily Griffith Technical College, and Pickens Technical College, allow students to meet industry professionals, gain hands-on experience, and envision themselves in a career.
DSF’s generous donors make our CTE programming possible. The LARRK Foundation is a champion of DSF’s CTE initiatives at the Montbello Future Center.
“Several years ago, we realized that traditional higher education options were insufficient to meet the needs of all students,” says Wendell Fleming, executive director of the LARRK Foundation. “We believe that there are many paths to postsecondary success.”
CTE programs help students build fundamental knowledge and expertise in skilled trade professions such as construction, hospitality, and healthcare. These programs give students hands-on experience and allow them to begin their career earlier than those who choose a four-year degree program. Students can earn a certificate in as little as six months and are often immediately employable in their chosen field.
Career and technical education prepares students for a wide range of high-paying, highly skilled, and in-demand careers including barbering, advanced manufacturing, hospitality, health science, information technology, and much more.
The Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation, the major philanthropic organization for The Washington Companies and the Washington family, supports DSF Scholars pursuing certificate and associate degrees in technical fields through the DSF Named Scholarship program.
Mark Fallon, president and CEO of Envirocon, a Washington Company, says the foundation is “keenly aware of the critical role the trades and technical fields play in the long-term success of the Washington Companies and to the economic health of cities like Denver.” Their goal is to “prepare young women and men for successful, valuable and enriching careers that support families and communities in Denver and beyond.”
As demand for talent in the skilled trades continues to rise, CTE programming poises Denver’s students to reap the benefits of rewarding careers by completing a certificate or associate degree through a CTE program.
Connie Wiegers of the Wiegers Family Foundation says the foundation supports scholarships for Scholars pursuing certificates and associate degrees for this reason.
“Supporting and providing a student the opportunity to attend a university, technical [college], or community college that leads to a fulfilling career helps to reinforce and strengthen the community at large,” shares Connie. “It also inspires and drives the students that can and will impact generations for years to come.”
Read more about our CTE programming here.