Pueblo Community College (PCC) will join Trinidad State College (TSC) and Lamar Community College (LCC) in rebuilding rundown homes as part of the expanded Colorado Partnership for Education and Rural Revitalization (COPERR) program, a $5 million initiative under the Colorado Attorney General’s Office.
The additional funding will support a new trades program at Pueblo Corporate College, a division of PCC, and grow the current programs at TSC and LCC. Launched in 2020, COPERR aims to increase available housing stock in Southern Colorado by training a skilled workforce to renovate dilapidated, aging homes.
“As we witnessed in the first years of this grant program, colleges in southern Colorado successfully developed additional programming to train students for the workforce and renovate dilapidated homes in their communities,” Attorney General Phil Weiser said. “The expansion of this grant will support them as they continue to reinvigorate housing options and support students learning a construction trade that meets compelling workforce needs in their communities.”
As we witnessed in the first years of this grant program, colleges in southern Colorado successfully developed additional programming to train students for the workforce and renovate dilapidated homes in their communities.” – Phil Weiser, Attorney General
PCC’s Pueblo Corporate College will receive more than $417,000 to roll out new construction skills training curriculum and partner with nonprofits to provide on-the-job training at local housing construction sites. In addition to career coaching, PCC students will learn how to use equipment, read blueprints, and frame houses, among other skills.
“Not only does this initiative give us the opportunity to enrich the lives of those interested in acquiring skills and competencies in the construction trades, we are humbled to play a part in the revitalization of blighted neighborhoods in the communities we serve,” said PCC President Patty Erjavec.
As part of the grant expansion, TSC will expand COPERR programming to its Valley Campus, located in Alamosa. Students spend their mornings in class and their afternoons at the job site, earning a stipend for their work. Through COPERR, TSC has received $2.76 million in funding to date.
“We’re looking forward to bringing our successful Construction Trades program to the TSC Valley Campus,” said Dr. Rhonda Epper, president of TSC. “This investment is just the boost we need to help train more construction workers while addressing blighted housing in Alamosa County and surrounding communities.”
With additional funding, LCC will deploy mobile classroom trailers to bring programming to two remote high schools. Upon completion, students can continue their training with LCC or find work in the construction industry. LCC has received more than $1.4 million from COPERR so far.
“LCC is so appreciative of the funding, support, and trust placed in us through this grant and is excited to expand opportunities to other areas of Southeast Colorado as the college engages high school students in more remote areas in the construction trades program,” said Dr. Linda Lujan, president of LCC. “It’s a win for students, communities, the college, and Colorado.”
The COPERR program is funded through money the state received from a national mortgage settlement reached in 2012 after 49 states sued mortgage servicers following the 2008 financial crisis. Before the launch of this program, none of the funds obtained in this 2012 settlement were used in Southeastern Colorado.
To learn more about COPERR, visit coag.gov/coperr.