Vail Daily guest column: Philanthropy boosts CMC early childhood efforts |

Vail Daily guest column: Philanthropy boosts CMC early childhood efforts

Kathryn Regjo

You may recall that Our Community Foundation was the recent recipient of a generous gift from Vail Resorts’ CEO Rob Katz and his wife, Elana Amsterdam. The funds came with a straightforward request: to increase the availability and the quality of child care here in the valley. Their generous donation will allow a number of dedicated community partners to set plans and processes in motion that will increase the number of qualified early childhood educators and ensure that we meet the needs of children in Eagle County.

Colorado Mountain College is both honored and grateful to be part of the vision and is pleased to announce the availability of full-tuition scholarships for students who wish to pursue certificates, degrees or continuing education requirements within the field of early childhood education.

As noted by Our Community Foundation on their website, “In Eagle County today, two main barriers to access to quality child care — cost and capacity — are leaving approximately 1,300 children ages 5 and under without licensed child care.”

The college’s role in helping address these needs is to be the steward of building capacity by training educators and caregivers. With access to scholarships, CMC students will have the opportunity to receive a debt-free education. They will be able to earn critical certificates such as teacher, director, group leader or developmental interventionist, as well as pursue an associate degree in early childhood education, which embeds each of these certificates.

Long-term advantages

Communities often underestimate the importance of high-quality early childhood education. There is a large body of research that points to the fact that those who have experienced quality early childhood education are more likely to graduate from high school, own a home, have a longer marriage and earn up to $2,000 more per month than those who did not have the opportunity. The list of benefits continues, including fewer repeated grade levels in school and fewer incidents with law enforcement. When opportunity is paired with resources, it is much easier to address the critical years between birth and age 6. We are certainly blessed that Eagle County philanthropists are taking such a bold step forward in the conversation on early childhood education.

Scholarships available

The goal of these CMC scholarships is to produce capable, encouraging and educated teachers and caregivers. The ability for students to follow their passion and earn college credentials without incurring astronomical debt is often the most critical determination in choosing a pathway of study. We cannot afford to lose potential early childhood educators to another career because of a financial barrier — and neither can our children. We at CMC — along with Our Community Foundation and the Katz Family — are hopeful that these scholarships will inspire many to pursue their passion, knowing that both a debt-free degree and a meaningful career is available.

Call to action

The time to pursue your education is now. Colorado Mountain College not only offers the academic courses toward certification and a degree, but also provides a host of support services to help students succeed, including free evening child care, free tutoring and some of the most amazing faculty and staff you will ever meet. To learn more about qualifying for a scholarship in early childhood education, talk to our bilingual learning services team at the front desk on the Edwards campus. They will help you get started, and then our counselors will assist you in the scholarship qualification process.

We hope to see you on campus this fall.

Dr. Kathryn Regjo is the vice president and campus dean for Colorado Mountain College Vail Valley in Edwards.

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