We hire young adults from northeast Denver into a paid apprenticeship in one of our two coffeehouses. Here they discover their own inherent greatness while learning to run a craft coffeehouse. The apprenticeship is a 12-18 month experience, designed by educators, of deep work and deep learning in a culture of healing. From healing in community together, these prodigies are the next generation of leaders this city wants and needs.
Through personal development and hands-on learning in a Prodigy enterprise, young adults build a foundation of mindsets and skills for sustainable lives, economic mobility and, most importantly, to go forth and enrich their city.
We envision an economically equitable Denver with a new generation of thriving, healthy, community leaders who have activated their inherent greatness.
SEE OUR WORK IN ACTION:
Prodigy's 2019 mini-documentary film
Check out our new mini-documentary by Manmade Media to get a glimpse behind the scenes of our daily work at Prodigy.
We track the following outcomes that, research tells us will lead to our long-term impact goal: "Apprentices secure meaningful, sustainable employment and experience economic mobility." Below are the four core short-term outcomes, with 2021 results, that research tells us will lead to the long-term impact goal.
Built foundational skills for the new economy
Experiential learning is key to supporting businesses, workers, and learners. By equipping apprentices with digital literacy fluency, critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, intensive work-based learning experiences like a Prodigy apprenticeship ensure a student maximizes their learning growth, potential, and acquisition of skills and mindsets for future positions. We are creating a more well-rounded, skilled workforce for the state of Colorado and beyond. At Prodigy, we measure our ability to equip youth with these skills using the Essential Skills and Dispositions framework from the National Center for Innovation in Education. It includes measures of communication, collaboration, creative problem-solving, and self-direction.
Increased social capital
Increased earning power
Our research shows us that bridging social capital, or ties that cross groups, are important for overall economic mobility. Understanding the assets in your community, how to leverage them, and increasing your community may be more powerful for economic growth than your education or work experience. At Prodigy, we intentionally design the apprenticeship to include activities that increase apprentices’ social capital and sense of belonging.
We’re not just interested in apprentices getting a job after Prodigy. We’re successful if they are confident in their skills and abilities, use their voices to articulate their stories and build a career that inspires them. Apprentices increase earning power by building technical skills, earn industry-recognized certifications, and promotions. As a result, they graduate with the ability to earn a living wage and be leaders in their homes, communities and workplaces.
We understand that economic mobility cannot happen from increasing earning power and foundational/transferable skills alone. Personal and cultural identity development and healing from inequitable systems is necessary to thrive. At Prodigy, apprentices engage in mental health and wellness, like healing circles, identity-based groups, and therapy. They study power, oppression, and liberation. They can attend 1-on-1 therapy (paid for by Prodigy). They use their voices to change leadership and shape the culture in the shop for customers and employees alike.