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This column by Rachel Pokrandt, vice president of CMC Leadville and Chaffee County, was published in the March 22 Leadville Herald Democrat. 

After 50 years, a new beginning – again.

Photo of Rachel Pokrandt, vice president of CMC Leadville.

Rachel Pokrandt was named vice president at CMC Leadville and Chaffee County on Dec. 5, 2016. Photo Kate Lapides

For 50 years now, Leadville/Lake County and Colorado Mountain College have been joined at the hip. If one thrives, so will the other. As the college enjoys its 50th anniversary year, we are reminded that since the East Campus was founded in 1967, as one of two anchors for the college, the fortunes of the campus have been inextricably linked to the fortunes of the city of Leadville and to Lake County. The proud history of this linkage is what we celebrate throughout 2017 during our 50th anniversary year and what we think about at the campus each day in our effort to continually improve how we serve students and the local economy.

The college’s first signature programs of secretarial science, electrical technology and mining technology served the thriving community that existed in the late ‘60s and, as times have changed, the programs have continued to evolve with the needs of the workforce and the students. The Leadville campus is now looking to the future, much as the surrounding community is doing. Which programs will serve the interests of students and also the need for workforce development in the area, and how can the college maximize its resources to keep current in the changing landscape of the local community?

We are extremely lucky to have strong partnerships with our innovative and forward-thinking school district, our economic development corporation and our industry partners with whom we are currently visioning technical trades programs, maker and thinker spaces, and new programs to offer students. As the new campus leader, I take this challenge very seriously and as leaders have done before me, I am committed to CMC Leadville’s next exciting iteration.

The amazingly dedicated staff, faculty and students will use this monthly column space as one of the ways to tell you about our work, our successes, our challenges and our plans for the next 50 years in this remarkable community.

Rachel Pokrandt is the vice president of Colorado Mountain College Leadville and Chaffee County.