RBC | Colorado Northwestern Community College (CNCC) in partnership with Colorado Mountain College has been awarded a $2.9 million dollar RISE grant to support concurrent enrollment in rural school districts by equipping them with much needed classroom technology. With these funds, CNCC will be standing up 28 smart classrooms in seven different school districts and will be purchasing the region’s first mobile STEM lab.
As a rural community college one of the obligations we hold most sacred, is the obligation to provide the communities in our service area with access to college level concurrent education. Currently, CNCC offers concurrent education to 5 counties boasting a service area of over 8000 square miles, the largest in the state. For many of our rural students concurrent education can be the difference between going to college or not. Research published by the Colorado Department of Higher education (CDHE) demonstrates students are 23% more likely to enroll in college after having successfully completed concurrent courses while in high school. These students likewise experience more success while in college and are far more likely to complete a degree than a student who did not participate in concurrent education.
The acquisition of RISE grant funds will allow CNCC to greatly expand the catalog of courses it currently offers to concurrent partners. With remote learning technology in classrooms at high schools and the college there is the potential to offer young students coursework in virtually any program of study offered by CNCC. The addition of a regional mobile STEM lab will allow students access to college level biology and chemistry courses previously unavailable to them due to local lab limitations. Indeed, CNCC will now be in the business of bringing science to your doorstep.
Grants can be tricky animals. Oftentimes the amount of administration required to execute or report on a grant can be more of an expense than the award. To that end, CNCC is always very deliberate in choosing which supplemental sources of money to pursue. In this case, we felt the RISE grant gave us a true opportunity to use grant funds to pump money back into the communities who support us. By bolstering our regional public schools we create a greater number of future college students with greater earnings potential to support our local economies. A win we are happy to facilitate for our entire region.
By KEITH PETERSON
VP of Instruction, CNCC