Keeping students in the Yampa Valley

Story at a glance

• Craig and Steamboat Springs colleges, area school districts and the Northwest Colorado Board of Cooperative Educational Services are sponsoring vocational programs this summer.

• The sessions run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 9 through 13.

• Colorado Northwestern Community College's Craig campus will host a construction class.

• Colorado Mountain College's Steamboat Campus will host a culinary arts class.

• Hayden High School will host an automotive repair class.

• The sessions are open to students who will be sophomores, juniors and seniors next fall.

• Students in Craig, Steamboat Springs, Hayden and Soroco can participate.

• Enrollment costs a minimum $25.

• Registration is due by May 9.

Who to contact

To enroll in the Vocational Skill Institute, call one of the following contacts

• Moffat County High School: Travis Jensen, 824-7036 or

travis.jensen@moffatsd.org.

• Steamboat Springs High School: Steve Moos, 879-1562 or

smoos@sssd.k12.co.us

• Hayden High School: Kevin Kleckler, 276-3761 or kkleckler@hayden.k12.co.us.

• Soroco High School: Kelly Reed, 736-2531 or kreed@southroutt.k12.co.us

• For more information, call Jane Toothaker at 879-0391 or email jtoothaker@nwboces.org.

The problem for some newly graduated area high school students may not be a desire to leave the Yampa Valley, said Gene Bilodeau, Colorado Northwestern Community College Craig campus dean.

Instead, the difficulty may lie with finding work to keep them here.

"A livable wage has been difficult to find" for students nearing high school graduation, he said.

The response from area educational officials: Summer programs.

This year, CNCC's Craig campus, Colorado Mountain College's Steamboat campus, area school districts and the Northwest Colorado Board of Cooperative Educational Services are hosting a one-week Vocational Skill Institute in Moffat and Routt counties.

Three seminars offered by the Institute are designed to pique students' interest in area jobs and ultimately guide them toward employment in the Yampa Valley, said Jane Toothaker, regional BOCES executive director.

Colorado Mountain College will offer a culinary arts program, while CNCC and Hayden High School will host construction and automotive repair classes, respectively.

Calls made to Colorado Mountain College officials were not returned by press time Tuesday.

"We tried to pick three vocational (programs) that might be interesting for students in high school and might lead them to look for a position in our area," Toothaker said.

The programs are scheduled to run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 9 through 13.

In each seminar, 12 slots are available. Three slots are reserved for students in Moffat County, Steamboat Springs, Hayden and South Routt school districts, Bilodeau said.

At least eight participants must be enrolled in each session.

Students receive one college credit for their participation, Bilodeau said.

The programs are open to high school students who will be sophomores, juniors or seniors next year. Students must apply for the program by May 9.

A minimum $25 enrollment fee helps pay for the programs.

The colleges, school districts and BOCES pay for the programs' remaining costs, Bilodeau said, adding that the colleges provide a scholarship to cover tuition.

This summer's programming will cost about $10,500, Bilodeau said.

The group has collected $5,300, he said and plans to raise the remaining $5,200 primarily through business donations.

Bilodeau said getting more donations shouldn't be a problem.

"In all our communities, people do a really good job of funding kids, especially (for) educational opportunities," he said.

This summer's programming is one of several events the educational group hopes to organize for students in their service regions, Bilodeau said.

Ultimately, the group's goal is "to look at Yampa Valley youth and help them have exposure to career technical programs," he said.

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