Who is the Futures Lab for?
Futures Lab is for you if you recognize yourself in any of these statements:
- "I'm going to college and I know what I want to do..." Fantastic! Futures Lab will provide opportunities to engage in deep, self-directed learning around a specific area of interest.
- "I plan to go right to work after high school..." You're in the right place. Futures Lab offers the chance to build career skills in a hands-on setting. Whether you want to build a business, an app, a drone, or a net-zero tiny house, we offer pathways leading to industry-recognized credentials in a variety of in-demand areas.
- "I don't know what I want to do after high school..." We get it! If you are looking to try some stuff and see what clicks, you will fit right in at Futures Lab. Come explore your options while developing the skills and experience employers and post-secondary schools are looking for.
Is Futures Lab a school?
Not exactly. Futures Lab is a PSD program. We are similar to a school in that our classes all offer credits that count toward PSD graduation in multiple areas. However, since we are not a school, we do not have full time students which means we don't have a graduating class. We believe that we offer the best of both worlds: Students remain enrolled at their base high school and take classes at both locations.
What pathways and courses are available? What's coming?
Take a look at any of the Pathways on our main page. In addition to the seven pathways we're offering this year, we have more pathways scheduled to launch in 2021 and 2022. Next year, we anticipate launching new pathways for Education, Graphic Design, and Architecture, Construction, and Engineering. For Fall 2022, we're excited to launch our Advanced Manufacturing pathway in partnership with Woodward. We are also exploring a pathway for Sports & Exercise Science in partnership with UNC.
How can I participate in Futures Lab programs?
If you're already sold and ready to be a part of our community, you'll find everything you need on our registration page including flyers for each pathway and a detailed course guide that shows how many graduation credits a student can earn and in what areas.
We work closely with home campus counselors and in most cases you will be able to sign up for Futures Lab as part of your regular registration process. Futures Lab registration requires completing an additional form that is available through your home campus counselor OR via direct download here.
What about a Pathway in [area we don't currently have a pathway]?
We're glad you asked! Our initial Pathways were selected based three criteria:
- Industry needs, both locally and nationally
- Student interest based on ICAP and Career Cruising data as well as student focus groups
- Multiple options for a post-secondary trajectory, including that's continued education through the workforce, 2-year college, or 4-year college.
Our Futures Lab Advisory Council meets periodically to review existing pathways for continued relevance and identify opportunities for additional options. If you have an interest and aren't seeing a pathway that aligns, remember that PSD offers career prep opportunities beyond the Futures Lab so feel free to reach out and we can point you in the right direction.
Are there grade point average or admissions requirements? What about course fees?
The Futures Lab is a zero-barrier program. For PSD students, there are no GPA, attendance, or other minimum requirements to participate in Futures Lab. If you have a unique situation, let's chat about how to make it work.
Currently, none of our classes require a fee to participate. Where applicable, there may be a testing fee at the conclusion of the course to earn a credential, however we have opportunities available through our community supporters that can help offset those fees. Let's chat.
What does the class schedule look like for students taking courses at the Futures Lab?
Futures Lab classes will meet every day either in the morning or afternoon. We will offer both full-year and semester-long pathways to accommodate students' needs.
Where will it be located?
During its inaugural year, the Futures Lab operates out of Fort Collins High School. We are thrilled to have our very own location for 2020-2021 at the PSD Partnership Center in midtown Fort Collins.
Do students earn high school or college credit?
Students taking courses at the Futures Lab will earn high school credit. Many of our courses also offer Concurrent Enrollment opportunities through our higher education partners at AIMS, FRCC, UNC, and CSU.
What if I don't drive or have transportation? How do I get to and from Futures Lab?
Transportation will not be a barrier for students who want to attend Futures Lab. PSD will provide transportation for students who need it to and from the student's base high school.
I am a community member with an interest in supporting learners at the Lab with my time and talents. How can I help?
We are so grateful for community members who have a passion for giving back. We have a variety of opportunities depending on how much time you have to commit. Our learners appreciate anything from dropping in to teach a seminar for a day to mentoring a group of entrepreneurs. If you have something else in mind, we can discuss that, too. Fill out our Futures Lab volunteer interest form AND make sure you are cleared as a PSD Volunteer.
Where does funding for the Futures Lab come from?
PSD is working with multiple sources of funding for this program that may include a portion of the 2016 bond premium. All projects included in the original 2016 bond program will be fully funded. The Futures Lab project will not divert funding from the $40 million in planned improvements to all PSD schools, or from construction of futures projects that include three new schools, a transportation maintenance facility and an athletics complex.
We also rely on support from our industry partners who generously provide both monetary and in-kind donations.
The PSD Foundation provided $70,000 in startup funding for the launch of our MobileMakersEDU™ iOS App Development. The donation covered initial implementation costs including hardware for students, curriculum development, and teacher training.