The RK Foundation recently donated $20,000 as part of a community consortium to assist Denver Public Schools (DPS) with their Youth CareerConnect grant. In partnership with the Department of Labor and Education, the consortium of 31 organizations, along with the DPS Foundation, gave $2.3 million to boost the $7 million STEM grant to $9.3 million.

The grant is among the largest given by the program, and the STEM grant focuses on dramatically improving career and technical education, with a special focus on science, technology, engineering and math. DPS was one of six agencies nationwide to receive the $7 million grant.

Eight DPS high schools will benefit from the Youth CareerConnect grant, expanding career and technical education programs focused on the following industries: engineering/energy and engineering technology, biomedical science and healthcare, information technology and digital media, finance and advanced manufacturing. The program will provide opportunities for students to participate in a job shadow or paid internship and complete a capstone project that demonstrates how they applied the skills and knowledge learned in the classroom to their workplace-based experience.

The eight high schools that will benefit from the expanded programs include:

* Abraham Lincoln High School

* CEC Middle College

* East High School

* Martin Luther King, Jr. Early College

* George Washington High School

* West Generation Academy

* High Tech Early College

* John F. Kennedy High School

For RK’s personal contribution to the program, in addition to monetary support, the company is developing a pre-apprenticeship program. Senior personnel have committed to serve on the Manufacturing Curriculum Advisory Board to ensure that industry professionals can participate in the design of this vital workforce development pathway.

RK will maintain an active presence in the DPS manufacturing pathway by going in to the high schools and talking about career preparation and requirements. Additionally, senior personnel will develop mentorship relationships with selected DPS students.

RK is currently developing a job shadow program with DPS that will debut in February or March. This in situ  program will include an overview of RK and its five business units, a Merit shop overview and explanation, as well as rotating stations that will allow student to observe various job activities at the RK Xanthia shop.