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Skilled Trades, Arts, Robotics and Technology (START) is an experimentative workspace that exposes students to cutting edge technology and information in an engaging and nurturing environment. The START program is designed to bridge the gap between students of color and professions that build generational wealth by introducing them to tech-driven careers in a space that provides free access to high-end technology. The program will focus on the skilled trades, arts, robotics, and technology, and will offer young people the opportunity to learn in a state-of-the-art space that is equipped with the latest technology and resources.


The first application of START has been the creation of Studio X, a multipurpose production studio that offers professional-quality music, video, and photography capabilities, as well as a full barbershop and salon. Studio X offers teaching programs that educate and engage youth and young adults to grow skills and knowledge within these industries and empowers them to pursue careers in the Arts. 


Interested in a mentoring/teaching opportunity through START please contact us!

Skilled Trade, Arts, Robotics and Technology

The START program is an innovative initiative that aims to empower young people of color in Duluth's Central Hillside neighborhood. This program was made possible through a $100,000 legacy grant from the Ordean Foundation and Joe Everett, a former employee of the foundation. The grant was awarded to the Family Freedom Center to empower youth and their families through education in career and entrepreneurial development.

Ribbon cutting, studio X.jpeg

“The Family Freedom Center staff and leadership clearly shared my vision for this grant, and their use for it demonstrates that new opportunities for young people will be the result.”

-Joe Everett

Family Freedom Center is building on this momentum by establishing a manufacturing space and an area for teaching trade skills, such as welding and carpentry. The organization has also received a city grant to fund one full-time employee to staff the new technology center and is currently seeking funding to hire additional staff members, to offer curriculum to community youth every day.

The START program aims to provide young people with the resources and training they need to pursue careers in the technology-driven industries that are shaping our world. By offering access to high-quality technology and training, the program hopes to create a more equitable future for the youth of Duluth.

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