Collaboration plants seeds to set up local students for success.
Castle Rock and Douglas County business and education leaders are collaborating to better develop its workforce locally, setting up students for prime career opportunities that will keep them home.
“The goal is to build a bullpen of talent with education and experience to meet the needs of our business community, while, at the same time, providing good jobs and career paths for our students,” says Dr. Eric Dunker, associate vice president and dean of business, technology and workforce partnerships for Arapahoe Community College (ACC).
Education, community and business leaders have taken tangible steps toward that goal and more are in the works. A significant milestone came in 2019 when the ACC Sturm Collaboration Campus opened. The campus is a partnership between Arapahoe Community College, Colorado State University, the Douglas County School District and local business and industry. After receiving a historic gift of $10 million from the Sturm Family, the campus received a $250,000 gift and sponsorship by Schomp Automotive Group that was matched by the Sturms, providing a total of $500,000 for student scholarships and innovative initiatives.
Pathways to Promising Careers
The ACC Sturm Collaboration Campus provides students with pathways in business, technology, health and workforce training. It also facilitates training and dual enrollment opportunities for high school students. ACC has worked with Centura Health and Christian Brothers Automotive to provide apprenticeships that have resulted in students entering the workforce with competitive pay, experience and improved opportunities for advancement.
The Centura program, for example, allows students to start earning money as medical assistant apprentices while also taking coursework to supplement the on-the-job training. Within six months, students pass the national certification exam and then work full time in their field.
“This initiative is providing qualified frontline workforce for Centura in a more efficient manner, and that is especially important in times like this in the fight against COVID-19,” Dunker says.