CCCS Excellence Awards Winner

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis officially declared November as Colorado Apprenticeship Month. On Tuesday, November 5th at the Governor’s Residence at Boettcher Mansion, the Business Experiential-Learning (BEL) Commission honored six apprentices, three mentors, and five employers who have worked to further the awareness and adoption of apprenticeship programs, widely recognized to be an effective way to gain in-demand skills while earning a paycheck in a rapidly changing economy.

CCCS had award recipients in each category.


Eric Miller: Community College of Denver student and apprentice with Pinnacol Assurance

Eric MillerEric Miller is a third-year apprentice at Pinnacol Assurance and a graduate of Denver School of Innovation and Sustainable Design. His projects included Lean initiatives with broad scopes and high impact. Since his time at Pinnacol, Eric has successfully established himself as a trusted business partner with senior leadership. Eric’s supervisor said, ” We were struggling to build our capacity plan in a way that wouldn’t require hours of report running and analysis. Eric took on that challenge with gusto and not only helped build over a dozen production reports, but also used his knowledge of Robotics Process Automation to build a bot that called our reporting tool, ran all of the reports, and consolidated that information seamlessly. This saved hours of work manager would have committed each month to get this information.”

During his apprenticeship, Eric earned his Kofax Kapow software certification. He then went on to help his coworkers with the software, since he is a subject matter expert. He used his knowledge to automate a reporting process, which now takes five minutes instead of a week.

Eric is looking for opportunities to leverage his certifications, skills, and experience in bot automation to find a full-time job either at Pinnacol or another employer.

Today, Eric is pursuing an associate degree in business from Community College of Denver and plans on exploring options to earn a bachelor’s degree.

Joseph Lesniak: Arapahoe Community College student and apprentice with Centura Health

Joseph LesniakJoe is the single father of two daughters, making it very important for him to earn a sustainable living for his family. He wanted to try switching careers to the medical field but didn’t have the funds or the time to go to school without working. After taking advantage of the services provided by his local workforce center, Joe found out about the partnership program between Centura Health and Arapahoe Community College. During the six-month program, students take online classes while also gaining on-site and hands-on experience. Apprentices work with Centura supervisors for 26 weeks before taking the National Healthcare Association Medical Assistant certification exam. Apprentices who complete the program become full-0time medical assistants at Centura. He applied and entered the program in July 2018, passed his medical assistant certification in December of 2018, and completed his registered apprenticeship in June of 2019. Joe is gainfully employed with Centura and aims to go into nursing.

Joe has been successfully working for Centura Health full time and is happy to be able to better support and take care of his daughters as they finish high school.



Kristin Rice: Arapahoe Community College Instructor, online and lab courses for the Centura/ACC Medical Assistant Apprenticeship

Kristin RiceKristin is a “response to intervention” instructor, teaching online and lab classes for the Centura/ACC medical assistant apprenticeship. In her role, she goes above and beyond to make sure each apprentice progresses in the program. She follows up with the program’s participants and provides them with the resources and knowledge they need to succeed in the accelerated program.

Thanks to Kristin’s leadership, she has helped this program produce an over 85% retention rate at Centura for Arapahoe Community College graduates.  Since the launch of the program, Centura’s investment has grown to more than 26 apprentices per cohort, and ACC is now launching this successful program with Health One.

Kristin’s impact on those she mentors is on display during graduation, when each apprentice givers her a hug and goes out of their way to tell her how critical her support was to their success.

Shao Yeung: ACC Work-Based Learning Program Manager

Shao YeungShao’s career has been dedicated to helping all people reach their potential through personal growth, education, and employment. Arapahoe Community Colleagues say they were fortunate to hire Shao as a Work-Based Learning Program Manager. They say she has done an extraordinary job of guiding new apprentices through their technical instruction experience at ACC, providing guidance at every step of the process from recruitment, to interview, to acceptance, to course enrollment, and finally graduation from the program. She has an amazing talent for getting to the heart of the apprentice’s needs and serve them through her excellent communication skills and advocacy efforts.

Her coworkers commend Shao for her listening skills. Her knowledge of both workforce centers and higher education institutions has allowed her to provide a fresh perspective to each process and approach for supporting the apprenticeship. She is a champion of partnerships and does her best to include all partners when making decisions and building new processes.



Associates in Family Medicine: Partnership with Front Range Community College

5. Associates in Family MedicineLocated in Fort Collins, Associates in Family Medicine partnered with Front Range Community College to create a program that allows students to participate in an apprenticeship while also earning a paycheck and college credit and completing their certification in Medical Assisting. Students complete course work in the classroom and online through Front Range Community College that covers the didactic content of the program. When students are in the clinic, they focus on learning the hands-on skills required for providing patient care.

Once they’ve completed their course work and gain hands-on skills, they complete a portfolio that demonstrates their knowledge and the college awards academic credit so that they can graduate with a certificate in Medical Assisting. While in the apprenticeship program, students work towards earning the required hours they need to fulfill the requirements of the US Department of Labor.