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Pathways in Technology Early College High School program expansion announced at Grand Junction High School

Emma Rose injured her leg playing basketball this year. She is missing her senior year season as a result. The Grand Junction High School student leader may be missing out on athletics but is more than making up for the injury by working hard and earning college credits -and not just a few. Rose will graduate in May with 30 college credits earning a college degree while attending high school. The credits are also earned at no cost to her family.

“I want to go into the medical field which takes a lot of education,” said Rose. “Programs like PTECH can help students like me get a head start and by earning college credit in the most affordable way possible.”

Rose joined CMU President Tim Foster as a speaker during the community announcement February 18, 2021. The two also spoke after the event about how programs like PTECH help students. Foster is known for his ability to connect directly with students. This skill was evident during the PTECH announcement.

“It was nice to visit with Emma, tough injury but she has a great attitude. In my brief conversation I was impressed by her resilience and maturity as she will be building on her participation in our health sciences associate's program as she pursues becoming a nurse practitioner,” said Foster. “Hearing this directly helps those in leadership positions remember just how important initiatives like PTECH are. Hearing about her success and her aspirations keeps me inspired about education and the future of higher education in western Colorado.”

In addition to announcing the new PTECH programs at Grand Junction High School, the event also announced the first PTECH school established in Western Colorado in 2019 has been a success. Located at Central High School, the original pilot program is growing and helping high school students acquire higher education at no cost.

The original program’s success is partly why Grand Junction High School was also approved for PTECH courses in 2021. The new programs include a medical pathway offering an Associate of Applied Science in medical assistant, veterinary technology and medical laboratory technician. GJHS will also have an IT pathway offering an AAS in information technology.

Also, for the first time in the state of Colorado, a district-wide construction PTECH pathway will be available to all D51 area high school students through the D51 Carrer Center. Under the construction umbrella program, student can specialize in electrician, construction, surveying and or electric line worker credits.

Hosting the event on Grand Junction High School's campus, Principal Meghan Roenicke was in attendance and was joined by Jared Burek, the assist principal who also spoke during the program.


"At Grand Junction High School, we really pride ourselves on having an array of choices for students, so we're very excited about the expansion of these P-TECH programs that provide Grand Junction High Schoo the opportunity to have these choices for our students," Burek said.

In addition to leaders from District 51, local business leaders joined the announcement and according to Western Colorado Community College Vice President Brigitte Sundermann the partnership would not be possible without businesses.

“Today we are joined by companies like FCI Constructors and Community Hospital as well as others. PTECH schools don’t work without direct investment from businesses who help identify the workforce needs on the front end,” said Sundermann. “The PTECH partnership creates a perfect career ladder by starting with education and internships and moving to employment made possible through college credits obtained by PTECH students.”

A number of leaders explained during the announcement that the PTECH expansion occurred only two years after the first PTECH press event at Central High School. A student representative of that original program -Daniele Lasey -spoke as did Central High School assistant principal Tracy Arledge and future GJHS PTECH applicant Lanie Dougherty. Cheri Taylor is D51 Career/College Readiness Director and was a significant part of expanding PTECH programming in Grand Valley schools.

“The partnership between CMU and Western Colorado Community College and District 51 is important and strong,” said Taylor. “The early success of the PTECH here in our community is a testament to the power of partnerships and the strength of the businesses who support this program.”

Closing out the PTECH announcement CMU President Tim Foster and District 51 Superintendent Diana Sirko applauded the hard work and efforts from all those who created the program. The two-exchange appreciation for the staff and students who worked hard to bring additional PTECH schools to the Grand Valley, and expressed appreciation for the partnership between the university and school district.

High School students interested in signing up for college credit during high school can learn more by visiting the program webpage.


Written by David Ludlam