Lost High-School Graduate Discovers Passion at Community College of Denver
After high school graduation, Frank Wentworth felt aimless, unsure of what he wanted to do with his life.
He searched for his purpose at a four-year college but found it wasn’t for him. He obtained a good job working for a private investment company until Sept. 11, 2001, when he was laid off.
“After I was laid off, I realized that I needed a degree if I was really going to be successful,” Wentworth remembers.
He was right. According to Georgetown University labor statistics, by 2020, 65 percent of all jobs in the economy will require postsecondary education and training beyond high school.
A first-generation college student, Wentworth enrolled at Community College of Denver (CCD), where he could easily transfer his previously earned college credits. He was attracted to the energy of the campus and liked being in downtown Denver. In 2002, he began studying business administration.
“CCD ignited my thirst for knowledge and helped me understand more about me,” Wentworth says. “I found passions I didn’t know I had.”
Despite this newfound energy, it wasn’t easy for him. Wentworth juggled up to three jobs at a time to finance his life while he studied.
In 2003, he prevailed, graduating with an Associate of Arts Degree in Business Administration, which allowed him to transfer into a four-year university.
“I would not have been as successful had I started at a four-year school,” Wentworth says. “I wouldn’t have made it.”
Just two years later, he graduated from the University of Colorado Denver with a bachelor’s degree in geography and environmental studies, with plans to become a meteorologist.
Finding a Job That Checked All the Boxes
Around that time, at age 29, Wentworth met a woman, fell in love, got married, and had a child. To support his family, Wentworth landed a job with Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (TIAA) in Denver as a phone consultant in finance.
“CCD helped build that motivation to get there,” he says.
Thirteen years later, Wentworth worked his way up to a transition manager and Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor at TIAA.
“TIAA is the longest job I’ve ever had, and I love it here,” he says. “It was my college degree that helped open doors and landed me an interview. I thought I was too smart for college and didn’t need to spend all this money to get a piece of paper. Now I can see just how valuable that piece of paper is.”
In 2018, Wentworth connected with friend and CCD employee Peter Lindstrom, Acting Dean for Math & Science, who encouraged him to serve on a board; Wentworth is now on the Board of Directors for the CCD Foundation.
“It’s amazing to see the growth of the campus over the years and how we’re helping to build tomorrow’s trades,” Wentworth says. “CCD is not just the community college down the street anymore.”