Reaching New Heights: CMC’s Strategic Plan
By Dr. Carrie Besnette Hauser, CEO, Colorado Mountain College
The typical college student today is anything but “typical” according to historical definitions. If you were to walk into a Colorado Mountain College (CMC) class this semester, you’d see a blend of 18-year-old-first time college goers, transfer students, working adults, concurrently enrolled high schoolers, and recent immigrants. You’d meet individuals starting new careers or businesses, improving their computing for language skills, finishing a bachelor’s degree they started 20-plus years ago, and learning for pure joy in retirement. Our college serves all of these students, and is preparing to take on the next big challenge in our region and our economy.
Unlike generations past, today’s students will enter an economy in which 75 percent of all jobs will require some form of post-secondary education. This “degree demand” is unlike anything the nation, or our region has ever experienced. Additionally, our population has changed and continues to change. Hispanic students now comprise 37 percent of K- 12 school enrollments in CMC’s nine-county service area. (In many other school districts, this percentage climbs to between 50 and 70 percent. More than 50 percent of students, many lower income, or the first in their families to attend college, enter CMC needing remedial coursework.
Meeting the workforce needs of our state and local economies, means providing college access to historically underserved populations currently enrolled in our K- 12 pipeline and building systems for their success.
How will CMC meet these demands? For Colorado Mountain College it means working closely, and boldly, with our K-12 partners to ensure that all high schools have access to concurrent enrollment classes, that all students graduate from high school in our region can seamlessly transition to college, and that those same graduates are prepared to enter and succeed in college level course. You read this right. Our goal is to ensure that no student who graduates from a high school in our service area will need remediation. This is an ambitious objective, but one that CMC is uniquely positioned and prepared to fulfill.
LCHS Students Attend Hispanic Leadership Forum
Last Friday, October 3, fourteen Lake County High School students attended the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) Youth Leadership Development Forum at the University of Colorado Denver. The theme of this year’s event was Championing Hispanic Higher Education Success: Investing in Colorado’s Future.
Students listened to guest speakers and attended interactive presentations designed to motivate them and help them to begin formulating their educational goals and expose them to possible career opportunities.
(Side) Walk to Higher Education Now a Bit Easier
Work has begun on an 8-foot-wide sidewalk that will make getting to and from Colorado Mountain College in Leadville easier and safer for pedestrians. Previously, those traveling on foot had to walk along County Road 41 to reach campus.
According to Pete Waller, director of college facilities, a 1,600-foot-long sidewalk is being constructed between Highway 24 and the college’s Leadville campus. In addition to the walkway, 32 LED light posts are being installed along the path.
“The sidewalk is being built for the safety of our students and community members traveling to and from campus,” said Dr. James Taylor, campus vice president.
ACA Products of Buena Vista and Pro-Electric Inc. of Leadville have been contracted for the work. The project is scheduled for completion on Nov. 7, weather permitting.
CMC, Climax Form Partnership to Train Workforce
By Carrie Click, Colorado Mountain College
As Climax Molybdenum Company’s baby-boomer workforce begins retiring, new workers are needed to learn new technologies to fill those jobs.
“We’re looking at a high turnover rate in our electrical instrumentation technicians,” said Lenord Dorr, Climax’s senior supervisor of technical training. Climax Molybdenum owns and operates the Climax Mine and the Henderson Mine and Mill in Colorado’s central Rocky Mountains.
So instead of scouting for new employees on the Front Range or out of state, the company is taking a novel approach to training its workers: They’re educating a fresh workforce right in the middle of the mountains where they operate, thanks to a collaboration with Colorado Mountain College. The college not only has 11 locations throughout the north-central part of the state, but offers courses that Climax Molybdenum’s employees need in order to maintain the sophisticated equipment that’s now standard among mining operations.
The company and the college are working together to provide the training necessary for Climax Molybdenum’s next workers, according to Rachel Pokrandt, interim campus dean at Colorado Mountain College in Rifle, where integrated energy courses, certificates and degrees are offered.
Starting this fall semester, Climax Molybdenum has hired two employees for the Climax Mine near Leadville and two employees for the Henderson Mill near Ute Pass. Climax Molybdenum is paying the tuition and fees for their employees to take part in the industrial electrician training taught by the college’s instructors.
“This type of apprenticeship model will help elevate the skills of our local workforce as well as support business and industry in our service area to sustain the quality of their operations in the future,” Pokrandt said.
College’s mobile learning lab plays role
Pokrandt said the training program involves hybrid courses – a combination of online classes and hands-on lab time. Workers take the online portion either at work or at their homes. Classes are being supplemented by lab work offered at the college’s location in Dillon, located halfway between the two mines.
Dillon is conveniently nearby, but it doesn’t have the type of technical lab needed for the courses. That equipment is at the college’s campus in Rifle, more than 100 miles west of Summit County. Fortunately, in 2013, grants and donations allowed the college to purchase a mobile learning lab, which is a large, roadworthy, pull-behind trailer. It’s equipped with individual learning units that can be wheeled out of the trailer and into classrooms in Dillon for student use.
This isn’t the first time that Colorado Mountain College and Climax Molybdenum have teamed up. The 15,000-square-foot Climax Molybdenum Leadership Center at CMC in Leadville came about out of an initial $1 million pledge made to the college by the company.
College employees, such as Dr. Renee Kuharski, assistant vice president of career and technical education, anticipate that as well as educating Climax Molybdenum’s workers for regional mining jobs, the program’s offerings, which are open and available to all students, are relevant to others interested in working in the oil and gas industry, ski industry and construction, to mention a few.
“I think these students, whether they’re members of the local community or employees of the mine looking to advance, are being offered a great opportunity to get a valuable education, a skill set that will give them career opportunities that will benefit them just about anywhere they go,” Kuharski said.