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St. Vrain students tell Gov. Polis about their work at the Innovation Center

Governor’s tour also highlighted partnerships between district and businesses

One of the first to greet Gov. Jared Polis at the Innovation Center on Wednesday was Misty the robot.

“Welcome to the Innovation Center, Gov. Polis and distinguished guests,” the robot said. “I hope you enjoy your visit. May the Fourth be with you.”

It just so happened to be Star Wars Day when Polis visited the St. Vrain Valley School District’s unique center focused on innovation for a tour, along with state Treasurer Dave Young. They met with students who highlighted some of the work at the Innovation Center, from curriculum development and entrepreneurial work to robotics and cybersecurity.

Polis noted that he had visited the Innovation Center in its temporary space, before the 50,000 square foot facility opened in 2018. He called the center a great example of future workforce development.

“This is really a treasure, not just for St. Vrain or Boulder or Weld County, but really, really for the whole state,” he said.

Private sector partners and elected officials, including members of the school board, also attended. Polis noted the partnerships with these businesses, which includes internships, investments and work to ensure that students are learning skills that align with industry demand.

“Nobody wants to have a pathway to a dead end; they want to have a pathway to a bright future,” he said. “Those ongoing discussions with the business community are absolutely critical.”

St. Vrain Deputy Superintendent Jackie Kapushion noted that collaboration as well.

“We are here today because we all share the belief that students should graduate from our public schools with a strong competitive advantage (and) be able to pursue any path in any profession that will ensure students will live a life of great purpose, financial stability and can contribute to the strength of the economy of Colorado,” Kapushion said.

She also mentioned the Innovation Center’s next goal, which is to add a Futures Center with post-secondary counselors to arrange internships for all St. Vrain students. The governor said he looked forward to seeing that come to fruition.

“I’m so excited to hear about every student really having that opportunity to get that work experience and really having these skills-based trajectories that prepare them for success, whether that means a job right after high school or the additional higher education,” Polis said.