Fall to bring changes to CNCC

New automotive program, more times for energy courses set for August

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If you go

What: Colorado Northwestern Community College informational meeting for Fall 2008 programs

When: 6 p.m. April 17

Where: CNCC Craig campus Bell Tower Building, 50 College Drive

Cost: Free

Call: 824-1110

At a glance

• Next fall, Colorado Northwestern Community College's Craig Campus plans to offer classes for its Industrial Electrician and Power Plant Technology programs during weekends and evenings.

• Some classes for both programs will be available online next fall.

• The two programs contain about 70 credit hours each and terminate with an associate's degree in applied science.

• The college also plans to begin its automotive technology program in Fall 2008.

• The program will offer basic and advanced automotive certifications.

• A third certification for diesel certification is slated to start in Fall 2009.

— Ed Winters, Colorado Northwestern Community College energy technology director, is planning on August bringing more than new students and the first traces of autumn.

This fall also could bring new class times and a new program to the college's Craig campus, he said.

"We've had challenges getting (students) enrolled" in classes for its Industrial Electrician and Power Plant Technology programs, Winters said, adding that many students' schedules conflict with day class schedules.

The college has scheduled evening, weekend and online classes for both programs this fall.

Changing class times are the most recent changes to the Industrial Electrician and Power Plant Technology programs, which began in Fall 2007 and Fall 2006, respectively.

The two programs contain about 70 credit hours each and terminate with an associate's degree in applied science.

Winters believes the current market indicates the need for both programs in Moffat County.

"The (energy) industry is continuing to tell us how important energy training programs are," Winters said.

Tri State Generation and Transmission Association has made a three-year financial commitment to the program, company spokesman Jim Van Someren said.

The energy company has about 300 employees at the Craig Station - a coal-fired facility the company operates for its own uses and those of other energy providers, he said.

The company agreed to provide $10,000 annually to the program starting in 2007, he said.

The reason behind the donation lies partially with the company's need for a skilled labor force.

Because the average age of the company's work force is 48 years old, "We look at (the donation) as an investment in our own workforce future," Van Someren said. "We have to plan for the future and have skilled technicians to replace retiring workers."

August also will mark the start of the Craig campus' newest vocational program: Automotive technology classes that would provide students certification in two levels of certification.

The first step in the program would introduce students to the basics of the automotive field, Winters said, including engine diagnosis.

A second, more advanced track would cover the same topics in greater depth.

By the time students complete the basic and advanced course of the project, Winters said, they should have gained the skills to pass a test granting them certification from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence.

A diesel technology course, the final step in the automotive program is scheduled to start in Fall 2009.

College officials met with a group of area auto mechanic administrators in November 2007 to gauge interest in the program. The group's response pointed to a dearth of auto mechanics in Moffat County.

The program could train younger workers to take area auto mechanic positions before seek employment outside the county, Winters said in November.

Bridget Manley can be reached at 875-1795 or bmanley@craigdailypress.com

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