Jumpstart your career


The Pine River Community Learning Center (PRCLC) has unveiled a new program designed to prepare adults for two careers that are in high demand in the Four Corners, health and energy.

The STEM (Science Technology Engineering & Mathematics) Prep Project, is being implemented in three locations across the Southwest: Cortez, Montrose and Ignacio. The free program is self-directed and focuses on introducing the career fields to eager students.

“People in the area are not going into the medical field or oil & gas as well, we have to teach them,” Cecilia Robbins, interim director of student services said about the employment opportunities associated with each field.

A recent study from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that healthcare occupations will add more jobs than any other group of occupations between 2014-2024.

“It gives these individuals that want to learn a chance to get their foot in the door,” Muz Pinnecoose, PRCLC board member said. “The medical field is often viewed as too hard, but this is self paced learning, at your own pace, in a comfortable environment … what better place to start?”

The goals of the courses are to give the students a basic understanding of each subject in order for them to make the decision to pursue that career path or not.

The health and energy (oil & gas) classes are divided into the same four sections: electrical, thermal, mechanical and fluids. Each training section incorporates coaching, labs, and on and offline activities all aimed at meeting the needs of different types of learners, Deb Pace, lead GED Program teacher and program coach, said.

The health program will begin classes starting January 18 with the energy program starting shortly after. Class sizes range from eight to ten students with the labs being open 15 hours each week. After successfully completing the course the individual will receive a certificate of completion.

The certificate of completion, can help the student go on to further their education or training and possibly help with getting an entry-level internship, Pace said.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual wage for healthcare practitioners and technical occupations was $61,710 in May 2014 higher that the annual wage for all occupations in the economy of $35,540. And though oil and gas isn’t preforming so well right now oil & gas extraction employees still make almost twice the hourly wage of the average U.S. worker.

Adults interested in enrolling in the free program can contact the Pine River Community Learning Center to sign up at, 970-563-0681.

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