Steamboat Springs Are you doing all you can to prepare yourself, your employees and your business for the changing economic climate?
When I met recently with business leaders in Eagle County, one of the nine counties Colorado Mountain College serves, some said they've been relatively unaffected by the turmoil on Wall Street. Others, however, reported they were already making adjustments.
As never before, training and retraining will be key to weathering this storm. And this is where a community college is primed to help. It's a known phenomenon that when the economy is in a downturn, people increasingly turn to their local community college. In fact, a recent story in Parade magazine said that as the economy falters, enrollment at community colleges nationwide is up about 10 percent.
Why is this so? Families depend even more on the value their local community college can offer - lower costs paired with smaller classes and more individualized attention than many underclassmen receive at larger schools.
Additionally, businesses can quickly and cost-effectively retrain workers for changing needs through customized instruction. And workers who find themselves displaced appreciate the flexibility and affordability their local community college offers, in the form of occupational certificates and work-focused courses.
We don't have a crystal ball here at Colorado Mountain College, but we are studying national and local trends. We're also learning from innovative businesses and other colleges. CMC is continually preparing to meet the changing needs of individuals and employers within our communities. Now more than ever, we are poised to be your first choice.
One way we can do that is through keeping education and training affordable. At Colorado Mountain College, a local full-time student pays less than $1,400 annually in tuition. That's about $1,000 less than what the average public two-year institution charges, and about 20 percent of what an in-state, public, four-year institution charges, according to the College Board. The College Board is a national nonprofit organization that administers the SAT exam, among its many college admission and guidance services. (Note that none of these figures include room and board.)
Think about the small number of car payments $1,400 would cover. And a year of college will take you much, much further in life than a set of wheels.
During recent years of strong economic growth, CMC has been investing in classrooms, technology and faculty, so that we are prepared for any lean times that are coupled with higher demand for our services. We have reinforced our staff who support work force training, expanding partnerships with businesses who want to upgrade the skills of their employees.
So regardless of the changes you, your business, your nonprofit, or your government department may experience, we hope you can relax knowing that we are here for you, as your community college.
Dr. Stan Jensen
President and chief executive officer of Colorado Mountain College