Denver Public Schools CareerConnect


"Hands-on experiences like the job shadow at Denver Health are essential for our students. They're riding in an ambulance. They're learning how to intubate from EMTs. Those are the types of things that they can't learn in a classroom."

– David Mack, Biomedical Sciences Teacher at CEC Middle College

Program Type

Curriculum/Instructional Materials
Teacher Development/Training
Hands on/Project-Based
Work Readiness/Employment
College Readiness

Target Audience

All Students

Teachers/Educational Leaders




Grades 6 - 8
Grades 9 - 12

 Promising link

Program Impact

DPS CareerConnect students exhibit far higher graduation rates than their demographic and academic peers from the same zip codes in Denver—a difference of 30 percentage points in actual graduation rates. DPS CareerConnect will serve more than 8,000 students annually by 2018; the students will be taught by more than 200 innovative educators with relevant industry experience.  Students and teachers alike will deeply engage with over 100 corporate and higher education partners per year for a more seamless integration of K-12, higher education, and the workforce.


Program Overview

DPS CareerConnect features comprehensive, school-based programs that give high school students the opportunity to take a sequence of hands-on, project based classes and participate in work-based learning, including job shadows, mentoring, and internships in partnership with over 25 Colorado employers.

The programs also offer opportunities to earn professional credentials and college credit while in high school, as well as participate in preferential college admissions processes—all in partnership with more than 10 of Colorado's most elite training programs and two- and four-year higher education institutions. DPS CareerConnnect underwent significant expansion in the last year with the help of a major Youth CareerConnect grant, part of a White House initiative administered by the U.S. Department of Labor. All new DPS CareerConnect programs are aligned with five high-demand, high-opportunity STEM fields in Colorado: tech, engineering, advanced manufacturing, biosciences, and finance.

Simply put, DPS CareerConnect contributes to increased high school completion rates and better post-secondary preparation. By significantly expanding DPS CareerConnect programs in STEM, DPS is helping to build the pipeline of talented STEM professionals right here in Colorado.

How To Get Involved

To find out how your company can host a DPS CareerConnect job shadow, mentorship program or student internship, please visit

Funders and Partners
  1. Kaiser Permanente
  2. QEP Resources
  3. Denver Health
  4. Xcel Energy
  5. Campos EPC
  6. Colorado Technology Association
  7. Colorado Bioscience Association
  8. City and County of Denver
  9. Colorado Community College System
  10. University of Colorado
  11. Colorado State University
  12. Mile High United Way


Lauren Trent, Manager of Strategic Partnerships


Design Principles

The programs in this database clear a high bar. STEMworks reviewed each program against the Design Principles for Effective STEM Philanthropy.

  • Accomplished
  • Developing
  • Undeveloped

Overarching Principles

  • Need

    Identify and target a compelling and well-defined need.

  • Evaluation

    Use rigorous evaluation to continuously measure and inform progress towards the compelling need identified.

  • Sustainability

    Ensure work is sustainable.

  • Replication and Scalability

    Demonstrate replicability and scalability.

  • Partnerships

    Create high impact partnerships

  • Capacity

    Ensure organizational capacity to achieve goals.

STEM Principles

  • Challenging and Relevant Content

    Offer challenging and relevant STEM content for the target audience

  • STEM Practices

    Incorporate and encourage STEM practices.

  • Inspiration

    Inspire interest and engagement in STEM.

  • Under-Represented Groups

    Identify and address the needs of under-represented groups.