Leveraging Higher Education in a Rural County
Grand County Higher Education (GCHE) is a nonprofit venture, within the Grand Foundation, with a Director who reports to a governing committee. GCHE is leveraging higher education in a rural County in Colorado. 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 rural Grand County.
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. This education void is the genesis of the formation of Grand County Higher Education guided by a clear Vision and Mission to serve the residents of Grand County, Colorado.
Deliverables to Grand County Residents, Workforce and Businesses
Through Grand County Higher Education there will be a central service for the residents and businesses in the County to be kept abreast of opportunities to continue their education. In addition, Grand County Higher Education will develop a network of local instructors and identified industry presenters who will be certified and credentialed to teach the courses identified. Not only will this bring a greater level of community buy in, keep costs lower, but it will also build the intellectual capital in the County. This endeavor is not only a commitment to local economic development but also economic sustainability. The work of Grand County Higher Education will:
- Create an interconnected Learning Ecosystem in Grand County.
- Provide direct access to adult learning opportunities
- Reduce barriers to access
- Increase the local workforce knowledge and skills
- Increase income potential for individuals
- Provide value to businesses through a higher skilled workforce
- Add value to Grand County economic development and sustainability
Objectives and Success Metrics
The strategic objectives for Grand County Higher Education are clearly outlined in the 7 Deliverables. In order to achieve these objectives Grand County Higher Education will:
Continual Comprehensive Needs Assessment. In order to best leverage the resources of the GCHE and to address the education/career and technical training needs in the county, a continual comprehensive needs assessment will be conducted. Qualitative and quantitative data will be collected on a continual basis to ensure the focused deliverables of Grand County Higher Education meet the current and future needs of residents and businesses. Program funds will ensure Grand County Higher Education will be able to analyzing educational needs, build strategic partnerships and deliver learning opportunities.
Focused Area(s) of Response: The request for grant revenue will be used to target specific responses to the prioritized focus areas as evidenced through the needs assessment feedback analysis. A commitment of GCHE is to ensure equity in access to the courses/trainings and to reduce as many barriers to access as possible. Top Industry Sectors of Focus as identified by existing data and feedback data solicited through the January 20, 2017 Grand County Needs Assessment meeting:
- College and Career Readiness: focus on County wide early childhood provider’s pathways to Associate’s Degrees, Bachelor’s Degrees and state required certifications. Facilitating work with both Grand County school districts to conduct a gap analysis in College and Career Readiness programs (dual credit, Advanced Placement, Career and Technical Education (CTE) certification pathways and business internships).
- Construction-Trades: partner with the Grand County Builders Association Board and members to identify a prioritized list of current and emerging industry certification/training needs. Use this industry driven needs assessment to design curriculum, secure educational partnerships to deliver instruction, implement course offerings in Grand County and analyze success metrics.
- Hospitality-Tourism: partner with Grand County Businesses, members of the workforce and Chambers of Commerce to identify a prioritized list of current and emerging industry post-secondary/certification/training needs. Use this industry driven needs assessment to design curriculum, secure educational partnerships to deliver instruction, implement course offerings in Grand County and analyze success metrics.
Value Add Deliverables: The strategic focus of Grand County Higher Education is to provide value to the individuals participating in the educational offerings, add value to the business in Grand County and be a positive factor in economic development and sustainability.
Grand County Higher Education is leveraging higher education in a rural County in Colorado that will provide direct benefit to the workforce and businesses in Grand County, Colorado. Trough leveraging higher education in a rural county GCHE will create an interconnected learning ecosystem within a broader economic develop and sustainability plan for Grand County. For more information please visit www.grandfoundation.com or you may reach the Director, Dr. Scott Springston, at firstname.lastname@example.org