About Us

Our Values

Our values are essential to creating an environment where young people are able to show up consistently, be their authentic selves, and pursue positive change.

UTEC is a family.

We assume goodness behind everyone’s actions. We show madd love, unconditionally accepting each person. We offer everyone a clean slate, never giving up. We carry out respectful curiosity, always seeking out moments to connect. We are sponges, actively seeking feedback. We embody contagious passion in all we do.

UTEC is a catalyst.

We think big about what we can achieve. We continually chip away, demonstrating relentlessness in our pursuit of positive change. We plant seeds of peace and cultivate trust. We see beyond the mask, knowing there’s always more beneath the surface. We ignite social justice. And we spark sustainability – for our young people, our enterprises, and our physical environment.

We envision a society where all young people…

Value continual learning and critical thinking in the classroom and beyond, and seek to understand themselves, their communities, and the underlying forces that affect their lives.

Pursue and cultivate healthy relationships and choices. They belong to a supportive and diverse social network that is free from violence, crime, and other unsafe situations.

Believe that positive change can indeed happen, both in their personal lives and in their own community.

Are well-prepared to determine their own futures. Young people are self-reliant; they are also self-advocates and know how to seek support when it’s needed.

Advocate for equality and justice in their communities. Viewed as the best experts on youth issues, they play a central role in shaping the practices and policies that impact their success

Our History


UTEC was founded as the result of an organizing movement driven by young people to develop their own teen center in response to gang violence.

In 2009, after ten years in operation as a drop-in center and safe space for young people of all ages, UTEC staff engaged in a Theory of Change process that led to a programmatic restructuring to provide intensive, integrated services for the most disconnected youth ages 17-25.

UTEC decided to continue the organization’s gang prevention work and education programming, as well as expand its employment and case management services.

In 2011, UTEC began construction to expand and renovate its youth center in downtown Lowell to accommodate increased enrollment and grow our social enterprises. By 2016, UTEC had expanded its social enterprises into three industry areas: Mattress Recycling, Woodworking, Food Services. In 2017, the 2Gen Center @ UTEC opened its doors to provide onsite early education for young children of UTEC’s enrolled young adults.

In 2019, we celebrated the grand opening of our Haverhill site. In the same year, UTEC was selected as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ provider for a Gun Violence Prevention Training Center for Excellence, which is now the premier training facility in the state for addressing gun violence through both a public health and racial equity lens.

Our Programs

Leadership Team

Our Young Adults