Healthcare training grant forging career pathways in four eastern Colorado counties

For immediate release
Date: May 7, 2018
Contact: Office of Government, Policy and Public Relations
Bill Thoennes at (303) 318-8004 or Cher Haavind at (303) 318-8003
Fax: (303) 318-8070

Grant dollars combined with matching funds are bolstering employment and strengthening the healthcare workforce in Western Colorado.

A $91,000 grant that was awarded to Cheyenne, Elbert, Kit Carson and Lincoln Counties is providing training to residents, setting them on paths to a variety of careers in healthcare.

Efforts to expand and strengthen specific industries across Colorado go back to 2009 when workforce professionals and representatives from business, higher education and community-based organizations came together in an unprecedented public-private collaboration.  Calling themselves “sector partnerships,” they were established in 13 regions across Colorado, with each one identifying active or emerging industries that could strengthen the region.

In Eastern Colorado, four counties that were linked together as “Region 5” identified healthcare as an emerging high-demand/high-wage industry in need of a trained and ready workforce.  To expand the industry and to better connect the unemployed and the underemployed with healthcare careers, Region 5 applied to the Colorado Department of Higher Education for a training grant.

To date, the partnership has provided more than 20 awards to residents who now have careers in this industry without being weighed down by student debt.  One of the grant recipients recently recalls how the scholarship she received put her on a successful career pathway.  “I began taking classes to become a Certified Nursing Assistant at the Lincoln Community Hospital.  After the coursework, I took my state test, passed it and have been a CNA ever since!”

Grant dollars are still available as the Healthcare Grant continues to enhance training efforts across the four-county area.  To take advantage of this opportunity, applicants must prove they are currently living in Cheyenne, Elbert, Kit Carson or Lincoln Counties and are enrolled in a healthcare training program approved by the Colorado Department of Higher Education.

Applicants must be prepared to explain why they want to work in the healthcare field and commit to staying within the four-county area for at least two years after completion of their training and subsequent hire.  And because the grant dollars are intended to provide quality jobs for low-income and at-risk job seekers, applicants must meet specific income guidelines.

These grant representatives can provide more information about requirements:

Burlington Workforce Center:  Jennifer Beck at 719-346-5331
Elbert County Workforce Center:  Cynthia Rule at 720-639-5859
Limon Workforce Center:  Melody Bolton at 719-775-2387
Lincoln County Economic Development:  Troy McCue at 719-760-0305
Lake Creek Consultants, LLC:  Linda Olsen at 719-740-1832

Matching Funding
The Region 5 Health and Wellness Sector Partnership is seeking matching donations.  Even a modest gift can go far and individuals donating $200 or more will receive an Enterprise Zone Tax Credit and will help turn the $91,000 in funding into as much as $182,000. Matching dollars will make the grant’s impact even greater as it strengthens this vital industry across much of Eastern Colorado.

Business donations should be made payable to: ECEZ or East Central EZ and sent to:  Your Community Foundation,  P.O. Box 9, Limon, CO 80828 (please note on the check: “To R5SH&WP” or “Region 5 SECTOR Health & Wellness Partnership.” Businesses with questions should contact Dave Stone at 719-775-2346.

About the Region 5 Sector Health & Wellness Partnership
Region 5 is developing a far-sighted approach to address the pressing need for trained healthcare professionals.  Members of the Health and Wellness Sector Partnership include: Keefe Memorial Hospital, Kit Carson Community Health Services, Lincoln Community Hospital and Care Center, Peak Vista Community Health Centers, Centennial Mental Health, The Independence Center, the Colorado Department of Higher Education, Lincoln County Economic Development/Small Business Association, Morgan Community College (serving Limon and Burlington), the Eastern Colorado Council of Governments/Prairie Development Corporation, the Colorado Workforce Development Council, the Colorado Rural Workforce Council, Eastern Region Workforce Centers (serving Limon, Burlington and Elizabeth) and Colorado Workforce Development Programs (the latter four are all a part of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.