Roaring Fork Schools and EPIC program look to provide Career and Technical Education opportunities
Roaring Fork School District and the Colorado River Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) continues to make strides in preparing post-graduation students to succeed in real world careers through both the Educational Pathways to Innovation Careers (EPIC) program and the Career and Technical Education (CTE) program.
Both programs, designed to present opportunities capable of providing future workers with valuable skills and upward mobility throughout the duration of their high school careers, have recently partnered to further establish the growth and future potential of the two plans.
Coventure Executive Director Mike Lowe, who has done work to further establish the EPIC program, says the potential for CTE continues to grow.
“The first year, we had about 50 kids in the program and I think a dozen went into what I call the internship track,” Lowe said. “This year, we actually have over 307 kids in the program and 32 of those kids are on the internship track.”
Just in its second year as a program, EPIC has already seen success in helping kids kick-start their careers without having to go through the financial responsibilities of attending university.
“There are kids in this valley who don’t plan on going to college whether it’s for one reason or another,” said Lowe. “This program is giving kids an opportunity to get a leg up early in their careers so when they do decide what they want to do with their future, they can be fully prepared and know what to expect.”
Partnering with a number of companies to provide kids enrolled in the program with the necessary tools to learn, opportunity continues to be everything while teenagers continue to navigate what lies ahead post-graduation.
One company that continues to do work with EPIC, providing those interested the opportunity to get hands-on learning, Bighorn Toyota in Glenwood Springs has taken in a handful of those enrolled in the program.
“We have seven kids that went through an internship at Toyota and five of those kids are on track to likely land jobs upon graduation,” Lowe said. “It’s pretty awesome to see our partnerships actually leading to opportunities for kids enrolled in our program.”
Partnering with Roaring Fork Schools to provide students the credits and flexibility to take part in the EPIC program, the school district continues to take strides in expanding EPIC and CTE opportunities for their kids. Technology Integration Facilitator Ben Bohmfalk, who has been leading the charge for CTE opportunities within RFSD, knows the importance of expanding CTE opportunities.
“CTE today involves directly aligning high school courses to high-wage, high-growth opportunities in our communities to connect students with promising careers,” Bohmfalk said in a news release.
While Roaring Fork schools continue to expand their CTE program, EPIC’s partnership has allowed for students to take part in plenty of unique projects.
“We have a bunch of projects that are offered through the program,” Colorado River BOCES Executive Director Ken Haptonstall said. “Obviously we offer construction and stuff like that but we also have flight simulation, aviation and auto repair and we can even teach kids how to drive dozers, which I think is pretty cool.”
With RFSD and BOCES working together with the same goal in mind, both the EPIC and CTE programs will look to continue to supply students with all the necessary tools to gain experience and knowledge in different fields.
“Within the district we’re obviously focused on teaching students and providing them with any services that they need,” Bohmfalk told the Post Independent. “BOCES and the EPIC program have been a huge help and great partners in helping us provide our students with those services and connecting our kids with employers in which they have the opportunity to seek out apprenticeships.”
According to Bohmfalk, RFSD and BOCES will look to further expand the CTE and EPIC program throughout the valley, stating that they will likely look to launch a more detailed process later this summer.
Post Independent reporter Taylor Cramer can be reached at 970-384-9108 firstname.lastname@example.org
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