About the team

The Rural Schools Innovation Zone (RSIZ) partnered with Premont Independent School District to launch the Leaders in Future Technology (LIFT) Startup Incubator. The students who participate in the LIFT program are representative of the region’s demographics: 70% are economically disadvantaged, 10% qualify for special education services, and many reside in remote areas with no access to internet or broadband. To meet the pressing need for accessible technology education, the LIFT program provides all resources (including laptops, internet, transportation, and mentoring) to participating students free of charge. 

The RSIZ LIFT Startup Incubator launched in fall 2021 as part of the Rural Tech Project. In the LIFT program, students identify a problem facing their community and develop a product concept that could solve that problem. The program’s lessons provide students with step-by-step instructions for each stage of product development. Students learn how to collaborate on problem discovery, problem framing, research and analysis, and prototyping. Students then learn how to communicate the strength and viability of their product ideas by developing and presenting a pitch deck. In doing so, students build skills in clear, concise storytelling and visioning. Students also learn about different technologies and their applications, in part through IBM SkillsBuild, an online education platform that contains self-paced courses. Students gain career exposure through field trips and interactions with professionals in relevant industries.

Download the builder to learn more about Premont’s LIFT program.

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See lessons learned and resources from the Rural Tech Project teams.

See lessons learned and resources from the Rural Tech Project teams.