Vail Daily letter: Wow — look at CMC today | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily letter: Wow — look at CMC today

My first experience of Colorado Mountain College dates back to early 1970. CMC was a resource for enrichment courses for the growing Eagle County adult population. Today CMC is a vibrant public college which offers two- and four-year undergraduate degree programs: Five bachelor degrees (third most affordable in the country), 54 associate degrees and 77-plus certificate programs.

Last week I had the honor of joining the Colorado Mountain College Foundation Board, representing the Edwards campus within the greater CMC district of 11 locations over 12,000 square miles.

As I learn more, I am increasingly impressed with the opportunities that this community college brings to all of us. Feb. 21, CMC's "Women in Philanthropy" brought nationally renowned environmentalist, author, and two-time vice presidential nominee Winona LaDuke to the Edwards campus to talk with both students and the community at large. Her lecture that evening was at capacity, with 200-plus attendees, including CMC students, faculty from five different campuses and residents from up and down the valley. FYI, past speakers have included Steve Jobs' biographer Walter Isaacson, conservationist Maude Barlow, New York Times best-selling author Susan Cain, landscape photographer John Fielder, and Colorado Supreme Court Justice Nancy Rice. This kind of event is a common occurrence at CMC Edwards, is always free and open to the public.

The most exciting piece that I have been made aware of is the cooperative effort on the part of CMC and the valley's major employers to understand the staffing challenges and to expand or create new programs to meet employers' needs. CMC works closely with the Eagle County School District to provide dual enrollment opportunities to over 700 high school students, while continuing to collaborate with various local organizations to get our kids more career-ready than ever. Many will graduate with a career certificate and skill set that enables them to join the workforce. Others will enter college with a "jump start" on their college career.

CMC prides itself on being the community's college, and from what I have observed, it lives up to that and more.

Elaine Kelton

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