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Mission & Values

UTEC’s mission and promise is to ignite and nurture the ambition of our most disconnected young people to trade violence and poverty for social and economic success. Today we serve Lowell, Lawrence, and Haverhill, MA and are nationally recognized as a model agency serving justice-involved young adults.

Our history: UTEC was founded in 1999 as the result of an organizing movement driven by young people to develop their own teen center in response to gang violence in Lowell, MA. We were originally known as “United Teen Equality Center,” but today our name is simply UTEC, Inc. The community knows us as UTEC, and we now serve older youth, ages 17-25.


Our Values

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.

Our Vision

Social Impact

UTEC envisions a society in which:

  • All young people value continual learning and critical thinking, in the classroom and beyond, and seek to understand themselves, their communities, and the underlying root cause forces that affect their lives.
  • All young people pursue and cultivate healthy relationships and make healthy choices. They belong to a supportive and diverse social network that is free from violence, crime, and other unsafe situations.
  • All young people 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.
  • All young people advocate for equality and justices in their communities. Viewed as the best experts on youth issues, they play a central role in shaping the practices and policies that will help young people transition to successful adulthood.
  • All young people believe that positive change can indeed happen, both in their personal lives and in their own community.

Organizational Impact

UTEC is a leader in nonprofit management, fiscal sustainability, and community collaboration. We value youth and stakeholder input as a key component of organizational success. We are nationally regarded by practitioners and funders as one of the most innovative, ambitious, and outcomes-focused youth development agencies. Through our expertise, coupled with organizing and policymaking efforts, UTEC informs local and national policies that support proven-risk young people. Organizations across the country seek to learn from us how to engage hard-to-reach youth and to produce positive outcomes through transformative services.  We are a learning and teaching agency. And ultimately, the young people we serve return to UTEC as the agency’s next generation of youthworkers!

Sustainability is a driving theme in all of UTEC’s work. At the individual level, we see it on a daily basis as young people, otherwise overlooked and labeled as the most “at-risk” in our community, achieve their own personal goals in partnership with UTEC coaches.  At an agency level, it is evident in how we operate our workforce programming as sustainable, revenue-generating social enterprises.  And at the community level, our commitment to sustainability will be showcased through our green building, serving as a model for sharing the best practices of sustainability throughout Lowell and beyond.