Craig For Ed Winters, Colorado Northwestern Community College energy technology director, the "help wanted" signs around town say it all.
With an economy looking for employees, the allure to get a job and forgo college is strong for high school students. At the same time, energy-driven industries are looking for trained workers, Winters said.
That's where CNCC comes in.
New and forthcoming career technical courses at CNCC are geared toward meeting the needs of students and local employers.
The college is scheduled to host a forum presenting two career technical courses - power plant technology and an industrial electrician program - to Moffat County High School parents and students at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 20 at the Craig campus's Bell Tower Building.
CNCC could offer more forums focusing on all the college's programs in the future.
Next month's forum will focus on presenting the college's career technical program to high school juniors and seniors - students nearing graduation and who soon may feel the appeal of education and full-time employment.
"For a lot of kids who graduate (high school), there's a lot of pressure" to take full-time employment, Winters said. "They're afraid to commit to a two- or four-year program."
To accommodate the needs of its students employed full time, the college plans to reschedule its career technical classes to evening time slots next semester, Winters said.
Judging from discussions he had with students, the response to the career technical courses has been positive, Winters said. However, many students said scheduling the classes during the day conflicted with their work schedules, he added.
"We're trying to open this up to everyone," Winters said.
The college's career technical programs were created to meet the needs of students and local industries, where more entry-level positions are now available.
"With an energy boom in the area : there's an opportunity for graduates : to find meaningful occupations and jobs and stay in the valley," Winters said.
By providing students the education necessary for obtaining jobs with local industries, the college hopes to get them started on a career.
"We can give them the keys to the car, so to speak," Winters said.
Yet the programs also were intended to meet employer demands for trained employees.
The power plant technology course was created to complement the local division Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, and the industrial technician program was formed to "meet the demands for electricians in the mining industry," Winters said.
The new programs are geared "for the individual who wants a new career : but doesn't want to give up a daytime job," Winters said.