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Fifth University Tracks Center Locations Funded by Daniels Fund

Release Date: December 07, 2021

Haley Sue Robinson

Director of Communication/PIO

Marketing, Communications and Community Relations

719-549-2284

University Tracks Center location

PUEBLO—Colorado State University Pueblo received $132,000 from The Daniels Fund. This award provides necessary funding to launch CSU Pueblo’s fifth University Tracks Center, and the first in Colorado Springs, at Harrison School District Two.

“We are grateful for this gift from the Daniels Fund. More importantly, we are honored that the Daniels Fund team has put their faith in our University Tracks Centers project and is willing to invest in our campus and the work of our vision to serve students across southern Colorado and the southwest United States,” CSU Pueblo vice president for operations and advancement, Donna Souder Hodge, said.

The CSU Pueblo University Tracks Centers’ (UTC) mission is to establish a culture of post-secondary education in the communities they serve. UTC programs go in depth with financial literacy training, career exploration and understanding educational paths towards desired careers. Programs take place at the UTC location, housed at a local high school, as well as in classrooms across the district and in the local community. UTC coordinators provide scholarship essay writing support, resume building workshops, career counseling, mock interview opportunities, field trips to local universities and businesses, Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) family night events, and one-on-one support for every student or family member in the district interested in post-secondary educational opportunities. 

“We are excited for the University Tracks Centers to provide wrap around services when it comes to post-secondary opportunities, which is something we do not have the resources to do at this time,” stated Dr. Wendy Birhanzel Superintendent, Harrison School District Two.

Harrison School District Two is located in southern Colorado Springs and has a mission to graduate students who are “college and career ready with knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviors to personally succeed and contribute to the common good.” District Two has 11,177 K-12 students, 77 percent of identify as a minority, including 53 percent who identify as Latinx, and 74 percent who qualify for free and reduced lunches. Of those students, 2,800 are in grades 9-12  and are spread out among four high schools. The median average household income is $51,000 compared to a state average of $77,000; 16 percent of children under 18 live in poverty, and only 20 percent of adults have some sort of post-secondary education, compared to 43 percent across the state of Colorado. 

The establishment of the UTC in Harrison School District Two allows CSU Pueblo to expand its reach, while also making higher education more accessible, regardless of whether or not a student chooses to attend the CSU Pueblo. The CSU Pueblo UTCs provide students and their families assistance for any institution of their choice, including two-year colleges and four-year university.

“Our founder Bill Daniels believed in giving people the tools to help them realize their full potential. CSU Pueblo’s University Tracks Centers do just that by providing targeted supports that position students on the path to career success,” said Hanna Skandera, president and CEO of the Daniels Fund. “We’re excited that this grant will bring more life-changing opportunities for students in Southern Colorado.”

 

The Daniels Fund was established by cable television pioneer Bill Daniels and is a private charitable foundation dedicated to making life better for the people of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming through its grants program, scholarship and ethics initiative.

Expansion of the University Tracks Centers is part of CSU Pueblo’s Vision 2028 initiative, dedicated to becoming the people’s university of the southwest by elevating our people and our community. Existing UTCs currently operate in Pueblo School District 60 and Pueblo County School District 70 where CSU Pueblo supports hundreds of students and parents matriculate into a post-secondary education.

For more information about this award, or advancement opportunities at CSU Pueblo, contact Kimberly Wharton at kimberly.wharton@csupueblo.edu, or visit the Operations and Advancement website here.

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