Dr. Kathryn Regjo is the vice president and campus dean for Colorado Mountain College Vail Valley at Edwards. Her column is published in the Vail Daily.
By Dr. Kathryn Regjo
To help our students succeed, Colorado Mountain College Vail Valley will begin evening child care services for the children of CMC students, starting this fall semester. The program, named “Kids’ College,” will provide a calm, nurturing and education-based environment for children ages 3-12 while their parents take evening classes on campus.
Kids’ College will provide educational activities and transition to bedtime for the younger children, while school-aged children will receive homework support and/or enrichment activities during their time on campus. We are excited to offer this opportunity and hopeful that providing a safe, nurturing and educational environment for children will positively influence the entire family.
Why a college education?
The Colorado Commission on Higher Education reports that to meet the demand by 2025, 67 percent of Colorado’s workforce will need a postsecondary credential or degree – something beyond a high school diploma.
Although Colorado is the country’s fifth-highest-educated state with 38 percent college graduates, many of those graduates are transplants. We simply don’t do well enough “growing our own.”
In Eagle County, 47 percent of residents are college-educated, but we must do more to provide opportunity for employees and employers.
For local residents, CMC’s educational opportunities can transform lives. Education remains the primary source for improved lifetime earnings. Individuals with an associate degree earn, on average, nearly one-third more than those with a only a high school diploma, while those with a bachelor’s degree can expect to earn 74 percent more.
Working together, we need to create more opportunities for nontraditional students – those in their mid-20s and older. Nontraditional students often need greater support to confidently manage the responsibilities of family, work and education. A critical service provision for families is child care.
A two-generation approach
By offering evening child care – a service not available anywhere in the county – CMC hopes to assist those individuals seeking to advance their education. With a certificate or degree in hand, CMC alumni can increase their contribution to the economy, as well as advance the standard of living for their families for generations to come.
Education has a ripple effect. It is well documented that a parent with college credentials has a greater influence on a child’s eventual higher education attainment. Our society is often challenged to find initiatives that can help two generations to break the cycle of poverty at the same time. Colorado Mountain College aims to support that very concept by providing parents the ability to pursue higher education and, as a result, model that commitment to their children. Children of those families are highly likely to develop the understanding and desire to pursue higher education themselves.
You may have seen the Colorado Mountain Express vans in our parking lot during the winter; thanks to this partnership funds are available to begin offering Kids’ College. And we are grateful to our neighbors and Eagle County for supporting this partnership, helping to reduce barriers to the pursuit of higher education.
How to sign up
Kids’ College is available to students enrolled in at least three credits of college coursework. Students must first register for classes at CMC Vail Valley at Edwards. Once registration is complete, fill out a Kids’ College child care request form, available at our front desk.
Kids’ College will operate Monday-Thursday, 5:30-9:30 p.m., whenever school is in session. CMC students must sign up in advance to ensure space is available. Space will be first come, first served, so we encourage you to register today.
We look forward to seeing you – and your children – on campus!