FRISCO, Colorado (April 27, 2021) — Project Bike Tech (PBT) plans to launch four bicycle technician–training classrooms for some of America’s neediest kids in the Four Corners area. Utilizing a $148,000 grant from the Catena Foundation, PBT will introduce their program to high schools in Carbondale, CO; the Ute Reservation in Towaoc, CO; and two Dine communities in New Mexico.
“Native Americans, like all minorities, have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and now more than ever could benefit from a program that boosts physical and mental health and job opportunities,” says Mercedes Ross, Project Bike Tech National Director.
The first high school bicycle education program of its kind, PBT in School is an accredited high-school elective that uses bicycle mechanics as a conduit to teach Common CORE and STEM elements to students. The program provides over 200 hours of intensive classroom instruction.
PBT hopes to have all four classrooms in the Four Corners area running by August 2021. The goal is to graduate 20 students per class (80 in total) annually, starting in June 2022, with a longer-term target of 320 students in four years.
“Historic poverty, geographic isolation, and lack of resources has led to some of the highest rates of COVID-19 transmission and deaths in the nation in these Native American communities,” says Tawn Kennedy, PBT Regional Coordinator.
PBT’s proprietary curriculum currently is classified under several career pathways in high schools around the nation. PBT incorporates career-building skills as a component of their class, so students leave the program knowing the basics of portfolio building, resume writing and interview tactics. As the student enters the bicycle industry, employers know the training is standardized and supported by the cycling industry. Other partners in the Four Corners effort include the Outride Foundation and Free Bikes 4 Kids, a youth bicycling nonprofit based in Minneapolis.