Sept. 14, 2023 (Denver) – The Colorado Community College System (CCCS) honored four Colorado lawmakers as Legislators of the Year for their outstanding support of community colleges during the 2023 legislative session.
CCCS recognized House Bill 23-1246 sponsors, Colorado House Speaker Julie McCluskie, Representative Rose Pugliese, and Senators Janet Buckner and Perry Will, during CCCS’s state board meeting held at Red Rocks Community College (RRCC). The annual award celebrates legislators who champion CCCS’s open access mission and make extraordinary efforts to understand and reduce barriers facing community college students.
The bipartisan bill allocated $38.6 million to establish the Career Advance Colorado program, which provides free training for in-demand jobs through the state’s 19 community and technical colleges. The legislation was championed by Governor Polis and General Assembly leaders and even garnered attention and support from the First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden, as an exceptional example of state investment in community colleges and innovative workforce training programs. The bill also included a $5 million appropriation to launch nursing programs at the Community College of Aurora and RRCC.
“On behalf of the State Board and our 13 colleges, I want to publicly acknowledge the hard work and the vision of these legislative leaders,” said Joe Garcia, Chancellor of CCCS. “HB 23-1246 is truly a landmark piece of legislation, and it couldn’t come at a more urgent time for our state. This historic investment in our students will strengthen Colorado’s workforce for years to come.”
Career Advance Colorado builds on the successful model of Care Forward Colorado, which covers all tuition, fees, and course material costs for short-term healthcare training programs. To date, the program has trained over 3,000 Coloradans for entry-level healthcare positions with thousands more enrolled this fall.
For more information on CCCS Public and Legislative Affairs, visit the CCCS website.
About the Colorado Community College System
The Colorado Community College System (CCCS) is the state’s largest system of higher education, delivering more than 1,000 programs to over 115,000 students annually through 13 colleges and 35 locations across Colorado. Our open access mission ensures all Coloradans who aspire to enrich their lives have access to quality higher education opportunities. The System Office provides leadership, advocacy, and support to the colleges under the direction of the State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education (SBCCOE). Join us in changing the way Colorado goes to college. Learn more at www.cccs.edu.