Elevating Rural Colorado: Report Reflects on Five Years of Partnership & Growth

State and national leaders have celebrated Colorado’s progress in advancing career-connected learning as a model for igniting partnerships between education, industry, and government to ensure equitable pathways for all Colorado learners. Over the past five years, the collective visions and investments of state government, philanthropic organizations, and school districts have built on each other to create a story of funding, policy, and partnership that has evolved from single school district bright spots to powerful regional and economic endeavors that are poised for breakthrough success.

This is especially true in rural Colorado. With significant investments and expansion of career-connected learning, the possibilities in rural Colorado have reached a pivotal moment.

Coalesced around desires to create pathways of opportunity for students and families that lead to living wages, connect learning to in-demand jobs, and spur community-driven change, these collective efforts represent a turning point in rural Colorado’s history that could lay the foundation for lasting shared prosperity.

Colorado Education Initiative, Colorado Succeeds, Empower Schools, and Lyra Colorado developed the following paper to build knowledge about the work, impacts, and insights that have occurred and are emerging in rural Colorado education and economic development and to place these efforts in context amid growing state momentum.