​​​​​​​United Teen Equality Center, Inc.

The United Teen Equality Center (UTEC), founded in 1999 and based in Lowell, was the result of an organizing movement driven by young people to develop their own teen center in response to gang violence. Today, nationally recognized as a model youth development agency, UTEC's mission and promise is to ignite and nurture the ambition of our most disconnected youth to trade violence and poverty for social and economic success.
UTEC will create several new businesses to create new jobs and contribute to community revitalization in Lowell, Massachusetts. UTEC will create a café which includes a retail sales outlet with catering and event management services and a community kitchen/food manufacturing incubator. The café builds on UTEC’s successful track record with FRESH Roots catering, which supports the local environment, promotes healthy nutritional choices, and trains young people in work, life, and culinary skills. The incubator will include UTEC’s own food processing services that focus on the development of healthy products. UTEC plans to create a minimum of five new food service businesses through the food manufacturing incubator. The project will create 37 jobs in downtown Lowell, an area in Massachusetts with high rates of poverty and unemployment. 28 of these jobs will be filled by low-income residents, specifically providing employment opportunities for young adults with past criminal backgrounds who face obstacles finding employment in the area.
The public café, food manufacturing, and incubator will also increase access to healthy, affordable food in an area that currently does not have a full-service grocery store and is surrounded by designated food desert tracts.
Federal HFFI Program
Agency: HHS, Office of Community Services, Community Economic Development Program

Fiscal Year 2013, $800,000