CC Partners with Peak Education to Address Educator Shortage in Workforce

Colorado College will address an educator shortage in the workforce with Colorado Springs-area nonprofit Peak Education, which has received $50,000 from the Opportunity Now Colorado Planning Grant.

Opportunity Now Colorado is an $85 million grant program catalyzing transformative change for Colorado’s workforce. As a grant initiative of the Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT), the program seeks innovative solutions to meet Colorado’s workforce needs through industry and education collaboration.

Through this grant, Peak Education will bring together multiple organizations in the education sector including CC, Teach for America, Harrison School District 2, Colorado Springs School District 11, and the Southeastern Colorado Board of Cooperative Educational Services (SEBOCES) to explore and address the educator shortage in the workforce and intentionally place students studying education into career opportunities within the state. 

“This planning grant is a vote of confidence from the State of Colorado for Peak Education and our esteemed partners in collectively addressing the educational workforce gap,” says Carlos Jiménez, Peak Education’s Chief Executive Officer. 

“What CC wants to do here is be a ‘think partner,’” adds CC Education Professor Mike Taber, “and work with the people invested in solving the problem. We need to think about all barriers facing those who want to become a teacher in Colorado.”

Part of that work involves creating plans to help students begin working on credentials that qualify them to be in the educational pipeline while still in high school, and providing mentorship support through their time in college.

“We start with kids who have a passion for becoming a teacher,” says Taber. “When educators can work with younger people, it triggers something. If one in ten thinks, ‘this is kind of fun,’ then we’ve solved our problem. We don’t offer enough opportunities like that. Students need mentors and opportunities to become mentors. CC is in an advantageous position, with our Stroud Scholars program, where we work with teens before they go to college.”

CC students also do field studies in the rural ranching area of southeastern Colorado comprised of the BOCES communities of Springfield, Campo, Pritchett, Eads, and several others. “We spent time there with our Societies and Human Behavior class and our students connected with the schoolchildren so well that some were crying when it was time to leave,” says Taber. “Opportunities like that open doors to possibilities of becoming teachers. How else can we open the doors to higher education for these students, whether they come to CC or not?”

The grant will also allow CC and other Peak Education partners to create new educator pathways and apprenticeship programs in Southern Colorado to increase the graduation rates of future educators and create expedited pathways into the education field. The collective will identify and implement innovative solutions such as increasing educator pay with philanthropic support, providing differentiated housing options, and creating more flexible models of instruction. 

“Our goal is to bring together our partners’ deep expertise to engage students in conversations about their future and provide ready-made options to get those interested in an educational career the support they deserve to be successful. It’s a win-win-win for students, educational institutions, and the community,” says Jiménez. 

From the grant application:

CC will provide support with facilities for meetings, provide a representative to the planning committee, provide support with a learner-centered voice in the solution design process, and provide insights into industry needs/opportunities in their community to enhance solutions outcomes. They will also work to create educational programming that can support learners and potential future pathway participants in obtaining credentials, certificates, and teacher licensure. They will leverage their close relationships with rural school districts in southern Colorado to ensure that we can create an effective plan to address their workforce needs.

For more information on CC’s Master of Arts in Teaching program, click here.

Report an issue - Last updated: 04/26/2024