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September 16, 2021

Technology, the Trades, and More Career Paths for Students

Each year at Hope Academy, urban youth are gaining the knowledge, values, life skills, and opportunities to succeed at a traditional four-year college or university. Through our new HopeTECH initiative, students are also gaining an onramp to explore technology, construction, and other fast-growing trades:

In March, Associated Builders and Contractors reported a shortage of 430,000 construction professionals in 2021—with nearly a million more workers needed by the end of 2023 to meet increasing market demands. We’re also seeing significant growth in manufacturing[1] and considerable growth in other areas like Information Technology.[2] With a technical degree, graduates are quickly finding jobs in the trades, with strong entry-level pay. In 2020, nearly all graduates (95%) from Dunwoody College of Technology were employed in their field six months after graduation—at an average salary of $53,700[3]!

Hope Academy is working diligently to provide hundreds of urban youth in Minneapolis with access to learning opportunities in these and other growing fields—to help all of our students connect to meaningful and sustainable careers after graduation.

Since 2015, we have partnered with a local nonprofit, createMPLS, to provide coding and robotics classes and competitive teams for our students. In 2020, generous partners also helped us design and build a trades and technology learning lab and launch our HopeTECH Initiative—to provide students with more exposure and opportunities in technology and the skilled trades.

We’ve been so grateful to see the joy on students’ faces as they explore, create, and discover new passions that could also open doors to promising future careers. Mrs. Hall, our technology integration specialist recently shared:

“Technology teaches students problem solving, it teaches them perseverance; it encourages them, and they are able to use their God-given gifts of creativity as well…I hope to develop through all of these programs a desire in the students to persevere, a desire in the students to attempt to do things that perhaps they thought were too challenging, and to consider fields that perhaps they thought were beyond them. I hope that they will understand that the world is open to them.”

This school year, we are expanding HopeTECH across our curriculum and offering several new electives for students—including Advanced Woodworking, Home Construction, Advanced Coding, Web Design, and Advanced Robotics.

Through a classical, Christ-centered education at Hope Academy, students are gaining essential values and habits like perseverance, timeliness, punctuality, honor, optimism, and service; developing a strong foundation of hope in Christ; and preparing to become the next leaders in our community, in business and commerce, in ministry, and in their homes.

Hope Academy is inviting employers, trade schools, and community members to help advance this work for urban youth in Minneapolis, by connecting more students to vocational training and pathways to employment.

We have several opportunities for you to partner with us this school year. You can visit a class to share about your career, volunteer with our robotics program second semester, sponsor the cost for a student to attend Hope Academy, provide internships and employment opportunities for students and graduates, and more!

To learn about investing in the future of work for students at Hope Academy, please contact

[1] ABC: The Construction Industry Needs to Hire an Additional 430,000 Craft Professionals in 2021. Associated Builders and Contractors – National Office. (2021, March 23).

[2] Janco Associates, Inc. (n.d.). IT Job Market and US National Employment Data. 2021 IT Job Market and BLS Data Analysis by Janco.

[3] Newsroom, P. author B. (2021, June 29). Starting salaries continue to rise for Dunwoody Grads. Dunwoody College News.

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