5 Jan 2017

Grand County Higher Education


Grand County Higher Education

Grand County Higher Education is a nonprofit venture, within the Grand Foundation, with a Director who reports to a governing committee.  GCHE is funded completely separate from the Grand Foundation through gifts and grants from individuals and foundations dedicated to our mission to create continuing learning, higher education and workforce development opportunities in Grand County

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.  Grand County Higher Education was created to fill this void.  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 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. 

One area of focus by the Grand Foundation wide is the development of Grand County Higher Education.  The comprehensive need for higher education and work force training opportunities first began as a component of the Grand Foundation in 2008 based on expressed need for continuing education opportunities in the county.  A broad based county coalition of business owners, school district officials, patrons and town/county government officials coalesced around the need to identify the continuing education needs and to develop strategic partnerships with post-secondary institutions.  In 2016 a Grand County Higher Education Director position was advertised and a Director was hired. 

The Grand County Higher Education began in 2008 when local civic leaders, businesses, county government, public school officials and residents came together around the need to address a county wide void for post-secondary education opportunities and focus.  The Grand Foundation, a nonprofit county wide entity, served as the point entity for the development of GCHE.  A community representative committee was formed to oversee the strategic direction of this work.  In addition, an Executive Committee of the comprehensive GCHE committee was formed and tasked with the responsibilities of developing the essential job functions of a new GCHE Director position and to hire that person.  The first ever Grand County Higher Education Director was hired and began to serve in that capacity February 1, 2015.

 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 trainers; and provide training locations that best fit the student’s needs living in a rural county of Colorado.  To learn more visit http://www.grandfoundation.com/



The following video is a taped segment of “Good Morning Grand County” with Channel 18, Winter Park, Colorado.  The video highlights the mission of Grand County Higher Education, 2016 projects and a general overview of 2017 objectives.

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