Busy summer for Bettger

Retired educator to lead vocational planning

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A retired educator will coordinate efforts that could lead to a regional vocational center in the Yampa Valley.

Rick Bettger has been named coordinator of the Career and Technical Education Committee, a diverse group that began meeting in February to examine the need for pooling vocational education resources in Routt and Moffat counties.

The new position means Bettger will have a busy summer.

For a stipend of $10,000, he will be charged with tasks including creating an action plan for the group; completing a study that shows how a regional vocational center could best serve learners of all ages in the Yampa Valley; exploring funding methods to ensure such a center could be sustained; and drafting a "memorandum of understanding" to be signed by the agencies represented in the group.

"We've given Rick quite a bit of work to do in the next few months," said Janet Bohart, the group's facilitator. Although Bohart named September as a deadline for the tasks, she said the deadline "can certainly change."

Bettger said given summer vacations and a committee that is still in its infancy, "September might be a bit ambitious."

"We're still struggling with a clear vision of what is wanted in the study and what direction we want to go in," Bettger said. "We're making some contacts and looking for opportunities to grow and develop."

The committee includes superintendents and administrators from the Steamboat Springs, Hayden, South Routt and Moffat County school districts; representatives from local business organizations including the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, Colorado Workforce Center and The Industrial Co.; officials with the city of Steamboat Springs and Routt County; and administrators with Colorado Mountain College and Colorado Northwest Community College.

The Northwest Colorado Board of Cooperative Educational Services, or BOCES, was named in March as the lead organization for the committee.

Members are divided into two groups: steering and advisory. The smaller steering group will meet regularly, and the larger advisory group will meet less frequently and provide oversight.

The steering group will lead future efforts in planning, funding and curriculum development. Bettger will meet with both groups as the coordinator.

The steering committee will next meet June 1.

Bettger worked for 11 years as the assistant director of instructional support services at Pickens Tech, a technical school associated with the Aurora School District outside of Denver.

Pi ckens Tech works with students from 35 metro-area schools, Bettger said. Also a former business teacher, Bettger graduated from Steamboat Springs High School in 1970 and earned his doctoral degree in educational administration from the University of Denver in 1988.

He also is the coordinator of the TIC Summer Construction Institute, a weeklong camp in June that will give hands-on technical training and possible employment to area high school students.

The committee's efforts could ultimately boost opportunities for students of vocational trades, Bettger said.

"We need to train for the local work force, so kids can stay here and get a good job," he said.

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