Grand County Higher Education
Grand County Higher Education is a non profit organization funded by donations from businesses, individuals and foundations based out of a need to develop cutting edge pathways and partnerships that provides access to residents and the workforce to continuing learning opportunities, post-secondary and high skill workforce training. Grand County, Colorado encompasses 1,870 square miles with 14,289 residents (2013 census data) and has a 3.8% unemployment rate. The county is roughly 2/3rd the size of the state of Connecticut and is nestled in the heart of the Rocky Mountains.
In Grand County, currently there are no avenues or opportunities for residents to access higher education or industry certification training programs. Multiple years of qualitative feedback data from businesses, non-profits, chambers of commerce, public school systems, residents and city/county officials have identified, as a major deficit, the void of local access to continuing education and workforce training opportunities. The physical size, geography, and the weather conditions limit the ability of residents to travel outside of the county to access continuing education opportunities. In addition to these limiting factors, most of the existing workforce must balance a work or career with access to continuing education that fits within their work commitments.
Grand County Higher Education (GCHE) was formed, as a department of the Grand Foundation, out of the need to provide residents access to continuing education and workforce training opportunities that do not present exist. It also serves as a vital component within a robust economic development and sustainability plan for the county.
Grand County Higher Education will be a strategic leader and partner in continuing education and workforce skill development in Grand County by identifying current and future workforce needs; educational/continuing learning opportunities for Grand County residents; developing partnerships with post-secondary, high tech and vocational training institutions; provide scholarship assistance for residents; develop a County wide list of local experts to serve as instructors and train; and provide training locations that best fit the student’s needs living in a rural county of Colorado.