Our Story

We're Breaking Barriers & Building Bridges

Connected Lane County was established in 2014 as Lane County’s regional achievement collaborative by early childhood partners, local school districts, institutions of higher education, the local workforce board, and industry innovators. Today, we are an independent nonprofit serving over 2000 youth each year.

History of Connected Lane County

Our Impact

During the 2022-2023 program year, our organization served youth throughout Lane County through our various programs and offerings. With the help of our dedicated staff, partners, and the community, we launched new initiatives and programs, built on existing programs, and paid out more youth wages than ever before in our history.

Browse our Annual Reports and Impact Analysis.

Youth Served
Youth Hours Spent in Programming
Wages Paid to Youth & Mentors
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Words from Our Community

“I was like, okay, what I’m doing is helpful. I mean, you’re guiding these kids to their future, and so many of them, especially being down here, don’t even have a clear path of what they want to do. Those tours give me an opportunity to give them insight into things they might want to do for their life.”

Angela Dennis
Creswell School District

“The greatest thing ever. Efficiency- and action-based. We say we are going to do something and it happens. Once the group agrees on the actions, they do it. They do a great job setting expectations. It’s not just an idea floating in the area. You want to tell the industry to participate because you can see measurable outcomes.”

Ashley Espinoza
Lane Workforce Partnership

“I feel more successful and more directed. I had this idea that one day the carpet was going to get pulled and I’d be in the real world. Like I think part of the tour is like easing you into it and then part of the classes has really helped give me a staircase out into the real world instead of just a steep wall.”

Skylar
Willamette High School

marketingJAM makes waves in a three-day weekend competition

February 12, 2024

marketingJAM, the three-day marketing competition, wrapped up a successful showcase! We had 12 teams and saw competitors from Bethel, Creswell, Junction City, Siuslaw, Springfield, and 4J. Teams took on real-world challenges from local nonprofits, including Springfield Education Foundation, Lane Workforce Partnership, City Club of Eugene, and Positive Community Kitchen. Marmalade Marketeers from Creswell High School…

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Youth Highlight: Daniel

January 17, 2024

Meet Daniel, our monthly youth highlight! Daniel came to Connected Lane County through his school’s Career Center. He struggled to find employment and wanted to expand his skills. Our team placed Daniel in a paid summer internship with Bitforest based on his interests. Following his summer internship, he participated in codeORcreate, where his team won…

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December Youth Highlight: Minh & Thu

December 12, 2023

Introduction to SparkMinh and Thu bring so much creative energy to Spark programming. The twin sisters joined the after-school Invention Club at Spark on 7th in the fall of 2021, learning various machines and workflows and expanding their STEM skills. STEM InvolvementAt MESA Day, the end-of-year statewide STEM competition held at Portland State University, Minh…

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codeORcreate a Three-Day Youth Technology Competition Ends With a Weekend Showcase

December 12, 2023

codeORcreate is an annual three-day youth technology competition. Connected Lane County hosted 48 youth from 13 schools and 7 school districts. The youth had three days to create a tech-based solution to community problems and were paired with tech mentors. At the end of the weekend, youth got to present their projects to a panel…

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Connected Lane County Hosts Career Exploration Event for Middle Schoolers

December 8, 2023

In early November 2023, Connected Lane Couty hosted its Career Expo event to provide youth access to different career fields. Click this link to read KEZI 9’s article.

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Youth Highlight: Carmen

October 31, 2023

Navigate Support  Carmen entered the Navigate program at 17 years old, unemployed, and dropped out of school. The combination of a difficult home life and a severe car accident that totaled her only source of transportation left her struggling with mental health issues and unable to re-engage with education. With support from the program, she…

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Youth Highlight: Noel

October 5, 2023

Noel’s Journey to Connected Lane County  In his sophomore year at Siuslaw High School (2020), his enthusiastic computer science teacher, Mr. Mielke, approached Noel and recruited him to participate in our then-virtual youth hackathon called codeORcreate. The world was navigating the first year of COVID-19, and all extracurriculars had paused indefinitely. Noel, a computer science…

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Youth Highlight: Parker

September 18, 2023

Parker’s Journey at Spark on 7th Meet Parker, a talented young entrepreneur! His journey from high school to the inception of his clothing line, Honyx LLC, is nothing short of inspiring. Parker’s introduction to the world of manufacturing technology came during his senior year at Willamette High School. It was then that he discovered the…

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Navigate Wonder Week 2023

August 17, 2023

In July, the Navigate program’s second Wonder Week unfolded seamlessly, inspiring and empowering young adults. This immersive event at Spark on 7th focused on job readiness and career exploration. Each day, Navigate youth gathered for dedicated learning, growth, and new opportunities.

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Invention Lab 2023

August 17, 2023

Our Invention Lab is more than a summer program – it’s a transformative experience that empowers high school youth to stretch the boundaries of technology and creativity.

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In the News

Read all the great things being said about our people, our work, and the youth in our programs!