Community College of Denver expands adult programs

Learning to weld is one man's dream. He'd like to make homes for homeless veterans.

DENVER - The Community College of Denver is up to something these days; something that is drawing the interest of state and federal grant programs.

"A lot of students who come into the program have so many things that they're working with," said Elizabeth Schroeder, director of the Foundational Skills Institute at CCD.

Schroeder and her staff want to help nontraditional students like Gary Welch who used to be a bus driver.

"I came here just to start over basically," Welch said.

Sixty-two-year-old Linda Villanueva never finished high school because she had a baby.

"I am studying business administration," Villanueva said. 

Welch is learning to weld so he can transform old shipping containers.

"Basically cut them, cut them apart and just make homes for homeless veterans," Welch said.

The Community College of Denver runs programs supported by the U.S. Department of Labor to help people find their way to a new career.

"There are a lot of barriers to be able to go to college and one of the biggest is childcare," Schroeder said.

Working with the Community College of Aurora, they developed career pathways and concurrent enrollment programs to help parents save time and earn credits towards a degree.

"Being able to go to college without a GED and work for both of them at the same time," Villanueva said.

The State of Colorado passed a new law last year to provide funding for adult education as opposed to just through twelfth grade.

"Then, we are blessed with a big grant that was written through the Community College of Aurora," Schroeder said.

The Community College of Denver will receive a total of $1.4 million in state and federal money starting this year to help more students like Villanueva and Welch.

"That's just part of my circle meaning, you know, they help me, I'm just going to turn around and help somebody else, too, and hopefully quite a few people," Welch said.

Villanueva just wants to make her grandkids proud.

"I'm one of the first in my family to come to college," Villanueva said.

They're definitely up to something at the Community College of Denver. They're up to helping more nontraditional students than ever before.

"We're doing delivery that's going to help students build those soft skills, build those core skills that they're going to need for success in career, life, as well as in school," Schroeder said. "That's starting from day one."

 

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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