5 min readBy Published On: June 22nd, 2020Categories: News0 Comments

See press release below:

Responding to the Boston Globe’s recent Valedictorians Project, which highlighted the significant barriers Boston high school graduates face in realizing their college and career aspirations, Digital Ready and the Wentworth Institute of Technology are launching a Year 13 for Boston high school graduates this fall. With support from City Councilor Michael Flaherty, Year 13 is an innovative bridge year that ignites students’ passions, equips them with the skills necessary to navigate a complex, technology-driven world, and ultimately connects them to high-wage jobs in Boston’s innovation economy.

Boston has a culturally and ethnically diverse population, a thriving and future-oriented economy, dynamic neighborhoods and communities, world-class education institutions, and a rich history of civic engagement and activism. On the other hand, not unlike other major U.S. cities, it also has significant gaps in income and wealth between racial and ethnic groups that have far reaching implications for access to high-quality public schools, affordable housing, healthcare, high wage jobs, and representation in leadership positions. So, it’s not surprising that only 6% of the STEM workforce is Latinx and 7% is Black.

This innovative Year 13 initiative will provide a no-cost, accelerated pathway for underrepresented young people—students of color, first-generation college students, students from low-income backgrounds—with the skills, experiences, and networks necessary to build tangible pathways to economic mobility and success in Boston’s innovation economy. Year 13 will focus on the intersection of computer aided design (CAD),, engineering, computer science, digital fabrication, Building Information Modeling (BIM), and robotics to ready students for the complexity of a constantly evolving economy and society. Using cutting-edge technology, students will “learn by doing” through modular labs and integrated work-based learning experiences taught by faculty and industry experts at the forefront of their fields. Students will leave Year 13 with the confidence, knowledge, and skills needed to successfully transition into college and future career paths related to architecture, engineering, and construction technologyall of which are building the backbone of Boston.

“With generous support from The Barr Foundation and others, Year 13 is a unique collaborative partnership focused on giving Boston’s high school graduates the opportunity to excel in an outstanding institute like Wentworth – and in doing so, we will drive systemic change by reimagining what is possible for students.” said Dr. Sarah Cherry Rice, Executive Director and Founder of Digital Ready. “By leveraging the incredible resources and expertise in our city, and with help from our partners Autodesk Inc., MassRobotics and The Boston Society for Architecture, we have an unparalleled opportunity to open up access to college and STEM careers in Boston’s innovation economy for Black and Latinx youth. Our students are the innovators Boston has been waiting for.”

Wentworth’s President Dr. Mark Thompson stated that “our partnership with Digital Ready provides students with early college experience and immersions into STEM fields while exploring possible future career tracks and getting a head-start to become the next generation of innovators and leaders of Boston. Through experiential learning, students will earn 18 academic credits, making college more accessible and more affordable. Expanding opportunities for Boston Public School students has been a core focus at Wentworth and this work builds upon our partnership with Digital Ready and SummerLAB . Our university is committed to expanding organizational structures that support inclusive excellence, improve access, and demographic representation.”

City Councilor Michael Flaherty stated that “The vision for Year 13 is—and always has been—about providing all of our students with the resources they need to close the achievement gap and thrive in a global, innovation economy. Boston is in the midst of historic change and economic growth. We need to be intentional in creating programs that ensure all of our residents share in this growth. This partnership is just one example of the work we can do together to remove barriers for our students and connect our local, homegrown talent to the innovation economy that is growing rapidly in our own backyards. I’ve advocated for a long time that a Year 13 could be the missing link for our students, and I look forward to seeing this program in action.”

Applications for the first cohort of Year 13 students will open on June 22, 2020. Any recent high school graduate is eligible to apply from one of Boston’s public high schools. Priority will be given to Black and Latinx students and students who graduated from one of Boston’s transformation high schools.

Digital Ready is a Boston-based organization with a mission to activate the creative potential of high school students, especially underrepresented young people—students from low-income backgrounds and students of color—with the agency, social capital, and skills to build their own pathways to economic mobility and success in Boston’s innovation economy. For more information, visit www.digitalready.org or follow @digitalreadyboston on Instagram.

Established in 1904, Wentworth Institute of Technology was founded on the principles of action-based learning, dedicated to preparing graduates to meet the evolving needs of a growing economy—an ethos that continues to ground and inspire the institution today. The university offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in STEM and management disciplines. Interdisciplinary study complemented by dynamic co-op work experiences are hallmarks of a Wentworth education. Located in the thriving city of Boston, Massachusetts, Wentworth is a school of opportunity that is deeply committed to transforming lives through the education of first-generation students, military veterans, urban youth, and women breaking barriers in technical fields. For more information, visit, wit.edu or follow @wenworthinst on Twitter. 

The Barr Foundation’s mission is to invest in human, natural, and creative potential, serving as thoughtful stewards and catalysts. Based in Boston, Barr focuses regionally, and selectively engages nationally, working in partnership with nonprofits, foundations, the public sector, and civic and business leaders to elevate the arts, advance solutions for climate change, and connect all students to success in high school and beyond. Founded in 1997, Barr now has assets of $2 billion, and has contributed more than $1 billion to charitable causes. For more information, visit barrfoundation.org or follow @BarrFdn on Twitter and Facebook.

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