In the News


We talked to a nonprofit education support organization Connected Lane County to hear how they are endeavoring to provide relevant education that sets our youth up for success.

KLCC Oregon on the Record

Marmalade Marketeers team photo.

marketingJAM makes waves in a three-day weekend competition

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…

Governor Kotek Visits Spark at Booth-Kelly

On Thursday, December 14, we had some special visitors! Governor Tina Kotek and First Lady Aimee Kotek Wilson toured Spark at Booth-Kelly as part of Governor Kotek’s One Oregon Listening Tour! Koteck met with program youth, staff, and local leaders to learn about barriers youth in our community face.  Our director, Heidi Larwick, shared a…

A codeORcreate team smiling at the camera.

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

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…

Youth and a industry partner at Career Expo.

Connected Lane County Hosts Career Exploration Event for Middle Schoolers

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.

Youth and staff during the 2023 Tech Excelerator.

Connected Lane County receives a 1.4 Million Dollar Grant

Connected Lane County received a 1.4 million dollar Future Ready Oregon Round Two Workforce Ready Grant from the Higher Education Coordinating Commission. The grant received will support the growth of Connected Lane County’s Excelerators: the Manufacturing Excelerator, Technology Excelerator, and Health Excelerator. Each Excelerator is a 250-hour experience that includes paid training at Connected Lane…

Staff at Spark at Booth-Kelly engaged in conversation.

Celebrating an Outstanding Achievement in the 2023 Oregon Business 100 Best Nonprofits to Work For in Oregon List

We are thrilled to announce our inaugural placement on the Oregon Business 100 Best Nonprofits to Work For in Oregon list for 2023. This recognition ranks Connected Lane County among the small nonprofits category. The small nonprofit category is reserved for nonprofits with 20 employees and under at the time of the survey. Scores are…

Youth displaying invention at Invention Lab 2023

Students debut inventions with Connected Lane County’s STEM program

Student inventions included ‘wearable tech,’ like customized jackets, water bottles and more. Check out this story at

Students picking out books at BookFest

Lane County program provides free books to 3,000 K-2 students

BookFest was started six years ago by Connected Lane County and United Way with the aim of keeping kids inspired to read and preventing what’s called the “summer slide.” Read more on

Students selecting books at BookFest 2023

BookFest aims to promote summer reading for local students

BookFest is a community-wide book gifting program providing thousands of K-2 students with new books as they head into summer. Read more on

“Sparks” will soon be flying at the Booth-Kelly Center in Springfield — ones that will intersect community, education, and business for the county’s young and underserved population. This spring, Connected Lane County...

The Chronicle

Siuslaw’s Business Tech students competed in an event in Eugene from Jan. 20-22. It was Business teacher Eddie Meilke’s team’s first competition — something that clearly had no barring on the team’s ultimate potential.

Siuslaw News

Between tree farming, horseback riding, sports marketing, construction, coding, computer programming, and more, eighth-graders who attended the Middle School Career Expo each found out about jobs they had never heard of before.

The Register-Guard

Eighth graders from around Lane County made their way to Spark on 7th to participate in Connected Lane County's annual Middle School Career Exploration event.


"Every child in Oregon deserves an education that will give them an equal shot at success in our modern economy,” Brown said. “A deep understanding of computer science is a critical skill for today’s workforce."

Sinclair Broadcast Group

Oregon Governor Kate Brown visited Spark on 7th... She’s dedicating 5 million dollars in emergency education funds to provide grants, with special consideration for programs that reach women, people of color, and rural communities.


BookFest, a community-wide program hosted by United Way of Lane County and Connected Lane County, began in 2018 in response to the gaps in reading scores in local schools. BookFest gets books into the hands of K-2 students around the county.


It all started when Danielle was introduced to Connected Lane County and their Navigate Program, which provides workforce development training opportunities to young people ages 14-24. They helped her land a job at St. Vincent DePaul, and explore...

My Oregon News

With the help of a local construction company, one 17-year-old is gaining hands-on experience that is helping him understand and discover a career path that fits best for him.


From Dec. 3 through Dec. 5, the Siuslaw business and technology program competed in the annual codeORcreate Hack-a-thon. This is the third consecutive year the team has entered this competition. This is also the third straight year SHS has taken 1st place honors in the category of game design and development.

Siuslaw News

Spark on 7th is Connected Lane County’s new space where community, education, and industry come together to support Lane County youth for invention, education, and career-connected learning. Spark on 7th has hosted a number of tech industry partners and collaborations including Trifoia, CodeNinjas, Palo Alto Software, Hunter Communications, Pronoia Tools

Sally Bell, Technology Association of Oregon

We focus on STEM, Career Connected Learning, Early Literacy, and education and workforce re-engagement. In July 2021, we opened a new space in downtown Eugene called Spark on 7th. Spark on 7th is a place where community, education, and industry come together to support Lane County youth.

Heidi Larwick with the Technology Association of Oregon

Oregon Community Foundation's IGNITE program inspires regional partnerships to increase STEM opportunities for youth that experience the opportunity gap.

Technology Association of Oregon’s Techlandia

Inspired by the local efforts of Connected Lane County and Youth Era, Hunter Communications decided to donate internet and phone service, as well as sound devices to Connected Lane County’s new Spark on 7th building and Youth Era’s Drop-in Shelter.

Hunter Communications

Connected Lane County opened Spark on 7th in 2021 to help teach youth technical skills. Spark on 7th is the newest — and largest to date — initiative by Connected Lane County, a local nonprofit focused on improving student success for historically underserved populations around Lane County.

Becky-Jo Samples for City of Eugene Downtown News

The buzz in the room was palpable—30 students tinkering, creating, programming, and learning about technology. They were part of Spark on 7th’s first camp, an invention lab where students were tasked to invent a new technology following an air quality theme, mentored by local industry professionals.

Eugene Magazine

Media Inquiries

If you need information for newspaper, TV, radio, or other media reports, contact Becky-Jo Samples, Marketing Director, at