Our View: College rises to challenge | CraigDailyPress.com

Our View: College rises to challenge

Ed Winters is getting a quick lesson in politics.

The director for Colorado Northwestern Community College’s new energy technology program has been before the Craig City Council, Moffat County commissioners and the Craig/Moffat County Economic Development Partnership seeking support for the program.

Community support will be critical when the college asks the state board for approval.

And, he’s gotten it.

It’s no surprise that there’s overwhelming local support for the community college — particularly in this case.

There’s no reason elected officials, boards and residents shouldn’t back this move.

Talk about putting your money where your mouth is.

College officials have often said they’re partners with the community and with area businesses and they’ve professed a willingness to meet the needs specific to this community.

That’s exactly what they’ve done.

As the area’s energy producers — 10 of the county’s top 10 taxpayers — consider how to replace an aging work force, CNCC has stepped up to the plate to form a partnership that not only benefits those businesses but the community as a whole.

With help from the power plant and other energy-based businesses, CNCC is developing a vocational program in which students can earn a degree in two years and be qualified for a job in one of Moffat County’s highest-paying industries.

The program also will help address a recurring question: How do we get our young people to stay in Moffat County?

The potential benefits of the program are vast, but more important is the tangible show of a philosophy that businesses and economic developers applaud: Grow your own.

Having a community college in our backyard is quite a coup for Moffat County. It provides opportunities for high school students, stay-at-home moms, hobbyists and those seeking a better-paying job or different career.

But, as this case illustrates, having a college is even more of a benefit when the college works so hard to be responsive to the needs of its community.

That philosophy is critical at a time when much attention is directed toward the growing number of high-paying blue collar jobs that few are trained to fill. High school vocational programs can only go so far. Left to fill that critical gap are community colleges.

We’re proud that ours is up to the challenge.

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