• Kelsey Draper, Learning and Development Coordinator, Facilities Management
  • Ferris Alexander, Videographer/Systems Administrator, Facilities Management 


The university has several different initiatives, projects and programs underway to create opportunities for staff to grow and develop, advance their careers and engage with the broader campus. However, because not all of our staff universally share access to these programs and opportunities (e.g., because of technological proficiency/access or language barriers), Facilities Management is figuring out how to improve the effectiveness of this work by considering how we can expand access to our custodial staff. 


Advancement and development opportunities have historically been limited for many workers on our custodial staff due to language barriers, limited access to technology and lack of technology literacy. Previously, our strategy for communicating with and engaging custodial staff has been to work around technology. However, we now believe that closing the technology gap by giving these employees access to email and websites (with training information and other resources provided in their native languages) will enhance communications between supervisors and custodial staff, improve the ability of these staff members to serve the university and promote inclusiveness and engagement by:

  • Reducing response times to safety issues
  • Promoting employee safety and awareness.
  • Offering a higher level of access to and engagement with campus programs and events.


For the past six months, Learning and Development Coordinator Kelsey Draper and Videographer/Systems Administrator Ferris Alexander have been spearheading training initiatives within Facilities Management centered largely around increasing the tech literacy of employees who have little previous experience with technology and who lack access to the technology needed to conduct everyday tasks like checking email and logging into MyCUInfo. Many of these employees might not have access to this technology at home.

Improving communications is vital to ensuring these employees have the same access the benefits of working at CU Boulder as all employees across campus, including regular updates on opportunities for employee engagement on campus, easier access to healthcare and retirement programs, tuition benefits and training (to name just a few).

In December 2016, Facilities Management opened a 12-station computer lab in Research Laboratory 2 where custodial teams will rotate through for an hour each Friday for training sessions conducted by Kelsey and Ferris. These sessions cover topics like accessing email, MyCUInfo, benefits, resources and training initiatives.

Finally, recognizing that many custodial employees in Facilities Management are not proficient in English and speak Spanish and Laotian as first languages, Kelsey and Ferris have been working with two students from CU’s Sociology Department and the Global Entrepreneurs in Residence (GEIR) to develop a centralized webpage and mobile application for Facilities Management where these employees can access vital human resources information and other resources, not only in English but also in Spanish and Laotian. 


Development of the program began in early 2016 and the first rollouts of the program began during Fall Semester, 2016. The program continues to evolve and grow as real life challenges with the technology are uncovered and solutions created.

Submitted by

Nancy Portner: nancy.portner@colorado.edu