Dear Editor:

As a business owner, as a mom, and as a fully invested member in our amazing community, I wholeheartedly support the ballot initiative to bring the Salida School District into the Colorado Mountain College family.

If 5A passes, our businesses will directly benefit because our current and potential future employees will have access to training and educational programs chosen by our community, including local business owners.

In addition, since CMC naturally attracts and caters to students who already live in the area, our potential candidate pool for employees will grow and improve without increasing demands on limited community resources.

The types of programs offered at CMC in-district schools, such as early childhood education, teacher training, nursing and building trades will increase both the capacity and quality of the services available locally that are critically needed by employees and their families.

Our youth will benefit from extremely low-cost options for full degrees, certification programs and/or free college credit programming while in high school. In addition, students will have access to career pathways programs for real jobs where employers are actually seeking employees in our area.

Adult enrichment programs and opportunities for residents with expertise to direct programming and to teach are among other advantages of partnering with CMC.

Voting yes on 5A to bring us in-district with CMC will afford us the ability to direct the inevitable growth we are facing. It will make resources available and create a meaningful partnership with an established and proven higher education presence. It will also promote sustainable economic vitality and provide a wealth of opportunities to our residents through customized programming.

Let’s take advantage of this opportunity and make the choice to purposefully direct the future of our wonderful community.

Gwendolyn Allen,