The Colorado Smart Cities Alliance, University of Colorado at Denver (CU Denver), and the non-profit accelerator Innosphere Ventures have been awarded a US $2 million federal grant to launch a smart cities incubator and accelerator program. The program will support workforce development in critical tech industries and create more than 200 jobs.
The grant is part of a larger statewide initiative from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) which has committed to investing $3.1 million in grants to support the growth of high-tech business and cybersecurity workforce development in Colorado.
“The Economic Development Administration investment will catalyze CU Denver’s innovation infrastructure, increasing educational opportunities for all and fueling the diverse tech talent pipeline of the future,” said CU Denver Chancellor Michelle Marks.
CU Denver plans the grant to develop smart cities certificate programs for undergraduate students and mid-career professionals seeking tech-related careers. It will also be used to install 5G equipment for a living lab that will support the development, testing, and deployment of smart cities prototype products and services.
“From artificial intelligence that improves traffic flow to sensors that monitor local environmental quality, smart cities are using today’s technology to build tomorrow’s infrastructure,” said Tyler Svitak, executive director of the Colorado Smart Cities Alliance. “Most importantly, these programs will prioritize access to communities largely underrepresented in the technology industry, including Bipoc [black, indigenous and people of color], women and people with disabilities. With a once-in-a-generation investment in new infrastructure, there is no better time to ensure the people suffering from the inequities of today’s cities are building the cities of tomorrow.”