KidsTek | Building Partnerships and Buzz about Technology Workforce Readiness
Built upon the success of a six-week after school technology pilot course, Westwood College and Denver nonprofit KidsTek joined forces with Denver Public Schools (DPS) to provide high school students with technology education, workforce-readiness and college prep during the 2011-12 school year. Through the program, students gained valuable technology education and had the opportunity to complete highly sought after training in computer networking, based on the Cisco Networking Academy Curriculum.
In Colorado, 58 percent of low-income households do not have a computer, but the state ranks seventh in high-tech wages, demonstrating the need for hands-on technology training and education to fuel high-growth sectors of the state’s economy. Additionally, there are 4.5 students per Internet-connected computer in Colorado's high-poverty public schools, reinforcing demand to expand technology options for these students.
Westwood College wanted to educate the Denver community and media about the existing gap in teaching high school students basic technology skills, as well as the opportunity for other business to get involved to help prepare our future business leaders to meet the demands of today’s economy. Westwood turned to GroundFloor Media (GFM) to deliver a public relations campaign that included a community celebration and launch event.
Westwood College’s support of DPS extended beyond the $50,000 donation, comprised of equipment, textbooks and staff time, to KidsTek for North High School and High Tech Early College during the 2011-2012 school year.
GFM immediately began laying the groundwork for the public launch of the partnership and facilitated partner meetings, and developed and presented a public relations plan with ideas for the program rollout and launch event. Program goals included generating positive media coverage about Westwood’s partnership with KidsTek and helping to forge positive relationships for Westwood with DPS leadership and other local influencers, including government officials and business leaders. The public relations program was executed in two phases and GFM drafted and coordinated support materials including the partnership announcement press release and partnership fact sheets. The partnership was launched publicly in October 2011 and in January 2012, the partners hosted a celebration event involving Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock and a panel of Westwood technology graduates. GFM was responsible for securing the Mayor, generating media interest, and drafting and coordinating all speaking points.
Between the public announcement and celebration event, Westwood College received widespread local media coverage that highlighted the unique private/public/nonprofit partnership and local influencer support of its efforts, including the DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg and Mayor Hancock. Stories were featured on Examiner.com, YourHub.com, Denver Business Journal and The Denver Post. Additionally, GFM secured an in-studio segment on 9NEWS (NBC) during its business news broadcast featuring the principal from High Tech Early College.
In addition, GFM coordinated development and distribution of a Brandpoint article, titled "Helpful tech training for your student may go beyond traditional classes," which received 824 placements totaling a circulation of more than 21 million. The story continues to receive interest online through two published YouTube videos that have received a combine total of more than 500 views.