Kodi Semon

Senior Workforce Program Manager, Culinary Arts


The Organization:

UTEC's mission is to ignite and nurture the ambition of our most disconnected young people to trade violence and poverty for social and economic success.

UTEC’s nationally recognized model begins with intensive street outreach and gang peacemaking, reaching out to young adults (ages 17-25) who have serious criminal or gang involvement to meet them “where they’re at.” UTEC engages youth in workforce development and alternative education. Social justice and civic engagement are embedded in all programming, with special emphasis in our youth-led grassroots organizing, locally and statewide. UTEC defines the "social and economic success" of its mission through three key outcomes: Reduced Recidivism, Increased Employability, and Increased Educational Attainment.

Why Kodi is a Superstar:

Kodi came close to winning a Veronica Award last year and her performance this year put her over the top. Kodi is a data driven direct service worker who believes that having quality data about program participants is critical to providing high quality services. She was instrumental in changing a program-critical employment assessment from something administered every 6 weeks to something done weekly to afford even more opportunities for important conversations about how her participants are progressing. “Collecting data this frequently is an awesome opportunity to have an accountability conversation with a young person when they ask me if there are hours available.”

The Data:

Kodi backs up her strong relationship building work with a solid set of data detailing results.

Highlights of her data include:

  • Kodi’s participants were more engaged in the program than other crews: she has a 91% attendance rate;
  • Performance assessments are another tool used by UTEC to gauge the effect of program services on participants: 88% of Kodi’s participants improved or maintained their performance, which compared favorably to other programming cohorts;
  • Youth in Kodi’s crew exhibited a higher rate (93%) of upward movement towards completing the workforce development program.