For the past three years, Homegrown Talent Initiative (HTI) communities have been models of collaboration, innovation, and resilience. Setting a new standard for career-connected learning in rural Colorado, these districts have been bringing education and economic development together in a local “educonomy” and establishing career-connected learning centered around student interest and industry demand.
As HTI reflects on three years of incredible progress and growth, we want to celebrate the fantastic work, dedication, and creativity these districts demonstrated.
Homegrown Talent Initiative is designed to get schools to think about what they’re doing differently. It ensures our community continues to listen to students’ voices, seeks opportunities that align and continues to design and implement authentic, relevant career–connected learning experiences for students.
In the 2021-22 school year, as a result of HTI:
- More than 4,200 students participated in career exploration activities across eight districts
- More than 300 students completed internships
- 2,250 students participated in industry credentials, career & technical education pathways, and concurrent enrollment
- More than 500 business, industry, and community organizations partnered with their local school districts to support career-connected learning experiences for students
In this phase of the HTI work, dubbed Phase 3: Scale and Sustain, the eight founding HTI districts continued to work on their career-connected learning implementation plans throughout the 2021-22 school year, including expanding career-exploration offerings, increasing staff capacity and knowledge, leveraging student voice, and instituting sustainable structures for long-term change. Districts also prioritized the integration of the Graduate Profile into curriculum and programming K-12 and continued to navigate increasing awareness and building partnerships across diverse stakeholders.
Phase 3 included Discovery Site Visits, an opportunity for each district to design a site visit and host their HTI peers. These visits included campus tours, student and teacher engagement, and presence from other key partners and stakeholders. Peers from other HTI districts provided detailed observations about strengths and areas for HTI and took best practices from peer review models, including Colorado’s S-CAP model, to develop a custom site visit process for the rural communities.