As all of our lives have changed significantly over the last several months, ACEC remains committed to enhancing career awareness and career development skills for Adams County students and connecting them to post-secondary options.
While the immediate response to the COVID-19 pandemic has focused on emergency response and health and safety for residents, ACEC is finding ways to prepare our youth to play a role in the economic revitalization of our state and the rebuilding of our community. We are adapting to the new realities of education and industry and connecting in new and innovative ways.
Workforce Development Scholarships Aiding Low Income Youth
ACEC obtained funding from the Adams County Foundation and the State of Colorado to administer scholarships for certificate and apprenticeship opportunities for low-income Adams County youth. The first students to receive the award are pursuing certificates in dental hygiene, nursing aide, welding, firefighting, diesel mechanics and early childhood education. Our goal is to grant 35-50 scholarships to students pursuing certificate/apprenticeship opportunities like these.
Here is what one scholarship recipient who is pursuing a Nursing Aide Certification wrote about her current situation:
I am a single parent to a two-year-old. I have been attending school full-time since he was born and working 25 hours per week. Despite working these number of hours, I struggled with paying for rent, food, diapers, school bills (books, supplies, etc.). We did have to leave my mother's house because my son's life and my life was in danger. Thus, our living situation was messy for a while. I have had to dedicate my time to my son and my studies, which has made it hard to put more hours at work to pay off bills.
Careers in Construction Program Provides Mentors to High School Graduates
ACEC facilitated a Careers in Construction program at three Adams County high schools which followed a new curriculum developed by the Association of General Contractors (AGC) and Home Building Institute and offered pre-apprenticeship certificates in carpentry, electrical and plumbing. Some 150 students participated in the program. Because of the job uncertainty brought on by COVID-19, construction companies were unable to hire high school students and/or graduating seniors in the near term as planned. ACEC has been working with AGC to find business mentors in the construction field for the graduating seniors. These mentors will keep the students connected to the industry and alert them to job opportunities that may come up in the next few months.
Backpacks to Briefcases Event—Now Online
Due to the COVID-19 situation, we had to cancel our Backpacks to Briefcases event in April. We are disappointed that this year’s seniors missed a great opportunity to get in-person experience to learn about various pathways they can take after high school graduation and receive soft skill knowledge. However, students who would have attended the event can now find the workshop presentations available on our website. We wanted students to have some take away from this event and feel this format will give students fruitful information as they take their next steps. Plus, the workshops are now part of ACEC’s website resources and school counselors have already indicated they will share them with high school students beginning next fall.
We now have 12 of these presentations on our website for students to access moving forward. Workshop presentations include such topics as Interviewing Skills, How to Create Your Best Life, and Undocumented and Working. If you haven’t yet seen these resources, you can find them here.
Centura Health Pre-Apprenticeship Program Ready for Take-Off
ACEC accepted 16 students into its fall 2020 pre-apprenticeship program with Centura Health, St. Anthony North North Campus and Front Range Community College. The pre-apprenticeship allows students to earn 2 college credits while also shadowing various allied health roles throughout the hospital. The participating students are from Westminster High School, Mapleton School District, Adams City High School, Pinnacle Charter School and Bennett High School. Beginning this fall, these students will take health science classes at Front Range Community College while gaining onsite shadow rotation in radiology, surgical tech, CNA, nutrition, laboratory, and pharmacy tech at St. Anthony’s Health North Campus. This program will specifically target high school seniors who can use this experience to move seamlessly into Centura Health’s apprenticeship program in these fields once they graduate high school. Centura Health has committed to the program even if it has to move to an online model next fall.
How You Can Help
Since its inception in 2005, ACEC has worked with a multitude of education, business, and community partners to increase career readiness program development for students that also addresses needed and emerging occupations in the region. ACEC’s programs help students understand that career success demands a certificate, apprenticeship, associate degree, bachelor’s degree or high levels of education achievement.
In these difficult economic times, making a donation to ACEC is a great way to support more youth gaining the career and college readiness skills needed to move forward in school, work and life. Your donation will directly support our efforts to continue to provide work-based learning opportunities for Adams County youth and enhance their career pathways.