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A Partnership for Northwest Colorado

Tags: Regional Partnerships

Ben Haughton

Over the past few years, El Pomar Foundation’s Northwest Regional Council has focused its efforts on retaining a steady workforce in spite of economic ebbs and flows that come with the oil and gas industry. This spurred the Council to ask the question: how can we give youth in the Northwest Region more opportunities to pursue higher education?

Northwestern Colorado is unique as it is home to four institutions of higher learning: Colorado Mesa University, Colorado Northwestern Community College, Western Colorado Community College, and Colorado Mountain College. Until six months ago, these four academic institutions had never developed a formal relationship. In September 2012, presidents from each institution came together with the Northwest Regional Council.  The college leaders left the meeting with a shared desire to benefit the largest number of youth in the region. They focused on coming together for the greater good of the region and created an innovative partnership.

The result of their collaboration is a three-phase educational pipeline funded by the Northwest Regional council. Over the next four years, the Council has committed $600,000. The institutions have agreed to match this amount, resulting in a total impact of $1.2 million over the next four years. The pipeline begins with middle school summer camps, continues with concurrent enrollment, and culminates with a transferable scholarship to any of the institutions.

The first series of summer camps will launch this summer.

“It is exciting to see collaboration between the institutions of higher education in our region, “ said Council Member Tom Kenning, Regional President of Alpine Bank, “Collaboration has created opportunities for students where it might not have existed otherwise”.

Check the blog for regular updates on the program.