On a Thursday night at the Minneapolis Convention Center, over 500 people gathered to celebrate the “Oscars of IT” at the 25th Annual Tekne Awards. This awards gala draws individuals from all corners of the technology ecosystem to celebrate the amazing accomplishments of Minnesota’s technology leaders and leading organizations. 

Although the awards have been handed out for a quarter century, a new award category was created this year to recognize organizations that are bettering their communities: the Tech for Good Award. This award celebrates organizations who have dedicated their resources and expertise to address critical challenges in our society and create lasting positive change. It shines a spotlight on the remarkable achievements of an organization that has gone above and beyond to create a better future for Minnesota.

Southeast Service Cooperative, a non-profit that serves education, government, and other non-profits in southeastern Minnesota, took home the 2023 Tech for Good Tekne Award thanks to their work in expanding access to career-oriented learning experiences.

Educators and employers are keenly aware of the talent crunch that is currently taking place in Minnesota thanks to a growing demand for a tech-educated workforce. SSC stepped in to help connect students, educational institutions, and industry employers match students with robust, career-connected learning experiences. Their solutions was FutureForward™.

FutureForward™ is an online tool built to allow students to explore potential career pathways through local employers. On the site, students can connect with organizations to participate in business tours, job shadows, internships, mentorships, and other career-connected learning opportunities.

Growing pathways for students to access careers in technology is a critical component to ensuring Minnesota’s tech economy is prepared for the future. Southeast Service Cooperative is helping solve this vital need thanks to their FutureForward™ tool and their efforts were recognized with the Tech for Good Tekne Award.

“Receiving the Tekne Award in the ‘Tech for Good’ category is an incredible honor for FutureForward™ and the dedicated team and users behind it,” said Mike Schnell, Career-Connected Learning Specialist at Southeast Service Cooperative. “This recognition validates our commitment to bridging the gap between education and industry and highlights the importance of providing equitable access and empowering students across Minnesota to explore high-wage and in-demand career pathways.”

Curious about the other organizations that won a Tekne Award? View our latest blog post to see which organizations came home with an award, photos from the event, and more.