Ken Melrose Technology Lab
The Ken Melrose Technology Lab opened in October 2021 and provides space and equipment for Cristo Rey Jesuit to incorporate Coding, Computer Aided Design (CAD), Circuitry, Audio/Visual Editing, and Social Media Marketing, all through the use of high-tech equipment such as a Laser Cutter, CNC Router, 3D Printers, Drones, Robots, video and photography software and other industry related equipment. The Ken Melrose Technology Lab will maximize our students’ preparation for future careers.
A March 2019 article in the Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal stated, “75% of our labor growth in the next 25 years is going to come from people of color”; however, abundant research demonstrates that most branches of the tech industry are dominated by white males: in 2015, women held just 25% of computing occupations; black women, 3%; Latinas, 1%. Given this labor boom for people of color, but the astounding employment discrepancies in these fields, the need to prepare and train students of color for work in these industries becomes obvious. With an estimated 75,000 tech jobs needing to be filled in the state over the next decade, Cristo Rey hopes to increase the number of people of color prepared to enter these roles. Providing additional technical skills training to our students for them to immediately practice, reinforce and use in their work places will help to diminish these gaps.
Cristo Rey Network students earn college degrees at two times the national average for low-income students. These students then enter the workforce adding value to companies around the Twin Cities. The Ken Melrose Technology Lab will prepare 500 students each year for higher skilled in-demand jobs; the addition of technical skills training to our curriculum will help to meet the increase in Minnesota industry demand for software developers, analysts, and employees in computer and IT roles. Due to the tremendous gaps for people of color in technical industries, preparing students of color for these roles creates a pipeline for companies, eventually narrowing the gaps.
Our three major programs (College-Preparatory Academics, Corporate Work Study, and Graduate Support) remove financial and societal barriers to success and prepare students for college and careers, thereby enhancing educational equity and diminishing the achievement gap. The Ken Melrose Technology Lab will do the same: remove barriers and enhance access and opportunity.
H2I Group provided high-tech equipment for this lab including 3D printers, laser engravers, printers and cutters, CNC machines, STEM furniture, and other industry-related equipment and training to help prepare students for future careers and enhance access to STEM opportunities.