Rural school districts across Colorado have been awarded $15 million through the Colorado Department of Education’s Rural Coaction grant program. This program is designed to “increase student access to and engagement with student career pathways and career-connected learning” through collaborative partnerships among rural districts, BOCES, and other local education providers.
Colorado Succeeds applauds the state’s investment in career-connected learning and postsecondary and career pathways for rural students. Last year, we championed a letter to the State Board of Education urging them to use COVID-19 stimulus dollars to invest in career-connected learning and support high school re-engagement strategies. The letter was signed by 14 rural school districts and 7 advocacy groups, and influenced the creation of Rural Coaction.
Learning providers awarded Rural Coaction funds:
- Fremont RE-2
- Ignacio School District
- Northeast BOCES
- Wiggins RE-50J
- Lake County School District
- Montrose County School District – RE 1J
- Pikes Peak BOCES
- San Juan BOCES
- South Central BOCES
Each Rural Coaction application required partnership and collaboration of multiple districts or learning providers. This list represents the lead applicants awarded, but the true impact of this program extends far beyond the nine recipients named here.
Many of these districts are building upon the work of the Homegrown Talent Initiative, a strategic effort to develop career-connected learning experiences for K-12 students in rural communities across the state. These districts are committed to expanding career-connected learning opportunities for students, investing in their educonomies through deep partnership with business and community leaders, and developing a shared vision of growth based on the strengths, needs and aspirations of their unique contexts.