CCD Joins CRCorps in Partnership for Student Opportunities in High-Growth Fields

COLORADO May 2024 – A new AmeriCorps service and leadership program that empowers community college students to help meet workforce demands launched this Spring at one of Colorado’s largest community colleges, Arapahoe Community College, and Community College of Denver with support from a national service state commission, Serve Colorado. College Renaissance Corps (CRCorps) at Campus Compact was created to support and increase the pipeline of diverse and skilled student talent pursuing career pathways in high-demand fields, such as advanced manufacturing, robotics, and engineering.

The Industry Ambassador program developed by CRCorps aims to create viable solutions to address pressing challenges like economic instability, youth disengagement, unemployment, and limited access to education skills training.

"CRCorps believes in the transformative power of national service as a cornerstone of workforce development, ensuring our students succeed in their careers and thrive as community champions,” said Eric Lugo, CRCorps’ National Director. “By providing hands-on work experience, fostering connections with industry leaders, and instilling a service mindset, we're preparing today's community college students to be leaders of tomorrow.” 

Sixteen Colorado community college students were selected for six-month terms as CRCorps Industry Ambassadors. During this time, the students will engage in paid service projects that connect them to industry leaders who will offer mentorship and networking training to support them and ultimately enhance the industry programs that they are studying.

“By partnering with CRCorps, we're offering our students a unique blend of academic rigor and real-world application, setting them on a path to career success,” Katrina Wert, Executive Director of Workforce and Community Partnerships at Community College of Denver, stated. “It's an exciting development for our institution and a win for workforce development in our city."

CRCorps is building a skilled workforce for high-demand industries and bolstering national efforts toward economic recovery and self-sufficiency.  

“We are thrilled to welcome CRCorps to Arapahoe Community College,” stated Julie Beggs, Arapahoe Community College’s Vice President of Economic Mobility & Workforce Innovation. “Our collaboration with them underscores our commitment to educating students and empowering them to contribute meaningfully to our economy and society.”

“Serve Colorado's investment in our partnership with CRCorps reflects our deep belief in the power of education to transform lives and communities,” said John Kelly, Serve CO Executive Director. “This is a proud moment for all the partners involved as we work together to elevate the potential of our students and our state.” 

“I’m thrilled to lead the CRCorps program in Colorado and have the opportunity to engage directly with students to help guide them into meaningful career paths in high-demand industries,” said Leah Porter, CRCorps’ Denver Program Manager. "At CRCorps, we are supporting the journey from classroom to career by providing real-world experiences, mentorship, and the tools needed for our students to succeed.”

CRCorps welcomes the following students to Houston’s Industry Ambassador Program:

  • Betsy Matkovich, Engineering-Nuclear, Community College of Denver

  • Dah Ku, Biology, Community College of Denver

  • David Merlano, Business with interest in Cert, Arapahoe Community College

  • Ezra Morales, Psychology, Community College of Denver

  • Gael Morales, Computer Science, Community College of Denver

  • Juliet Kale, Engineering-Aerospace, Community College of Denver

  • Kathryn (Kat) Lowrey, Engineering-Aerospace , Arapahoe Community College

  • Kim Tang, Computer Information System, Community College of Denver

  • Madan Khadka, Computer Science, Community College of Denver

  • Makeda (Maki) Tesfaye, Marketing, Community College of Denver

  • Meena Krishnakumar, Computer Technician, Arapahoe Community College

  • Michael Kish, IT and Construction Management, Arapahoe Community College

  • Miranda Burton, Architecture, Community College of Denver

  • Ryan Benlabhili, Computer Science, Community College of Denver

  • Spencer Garison Mize, Welding, Community College of Denver

  • Susan Velasquez, Health Information Technology, Arapahoe Community College

Each of these CRCorps Industry Ambassadors will receive a 25-week stipend of $13,376 and an educational stipend of $2,626.27 as a benefit to their national service work with CRCorps through AmeriCorps. 


About Community College of Denver

Community College of Denver (CCD) is a leading point of entry to higher education for the city and county of Denver. CCD provides cost-effective, high-quality college education, along with access and opportunity for non-traditional students, workforce development, training resources for local organizations, and community partnerships. CCD is a federally funded Hispanic Serving and designated Military Friendly Institution. Learn more at ccd.edu.

About College Renaissance Corps

College Renaissance Corps (CRCorps) is a new national leadership program from Campus Compact. The program empowers community college students to become industry and community leaders while working to boost enrollment rates at community colleges for high-demand industry programs. Learn more at compact.org.