2023 State of the System | A Message from Chancellor Garcia


Dear Colleagues,

I can hardly believe this is my sixth State of the System address. We have been through a lot over those years, and I truly believe we have become stronger through the adversity we’ve faced and the challenges we’ve overcome.

At every turn, we have demonstrated outstanding collaboration, an unwavering commitment to students, and a willingness to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of higher education. And we have never lost sight of our mission: to provide affordable, accessible, and responsive education and training for all.

Our strength has always come from working as one system powered by 13 independently led colleges serving diverse communities with different workforce needs. So, as we start another successful school year, let’s talk about where we are now—and where we are headed together.

Click here to watch the Chancellor’s video.

Below is a summary of the Chancellor’s message. To hear his full remarks, please watch the video above.

Continuing Our Recovery

I am heartened that many students are coming back to campus, and we can do even more to fuel future growth. We know we cannot effectively recruit or serve non-traditional students if we try to do it in traditional ways. To truly meet students where they are, we must embrace new models, adapt our approaches, and question long-held practices.

Supporting Workforce Development

I am proud that CCCS remains the partner of choice for workforce development. Through the Care Forward Colorado program, our colleges have trained thousands of Coloradans for entry-level healthcare positions—and we are expanding this zero-cost model with Career Advance Colorado. This is an incredible testament to our career-connected approach, and we are grateful to Governor Polis and the General Assembly for entrusting us with this investment.

Harnessing the Power of 13

Colorado Online, our new online education model, takes a first-in-nation consortial approach to dramatically improve access to high-quality, online education, and will put the primary responsibility for instruction back on the colleges. We have also spent $8 million in state funding to stand up the Rural College Consortium, which will link rural colleges’ programs, services, and backend process. Not only will these projects make colleges more efficient and sustainable—they will expand options for students.

Improving the Employee Experience

We are working hard to improve the employee experience. This year, look for more professional development opportunities coming from the System Office. We are also co-designing a new shared governance model with faculty, instructors, and staff that encourages robust dialogue around key issues.

Committing to Inclusive Excellence

Finally, I want to reiterate that equity and inclusion remain a cornerstone of our open access mission—especially when that mission is under attack. Equity and inclusion can’t be standalone initiatives or projects: they must be an integral part of everything we do in our classrooms, our colleges, and or communities.

Thank You for Choosing CCCS

Thank you for lending your talents to CCCS. As we forge ahead, let’s continue to lean on one another and to treat each other with grace, collegiality, and respect, and commit to the Power of 13. When we come together, we truly transform the way Colorado goes to college.


Joe Garcia
Chancellor, Colorado Community College System

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