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New name, new director in the works for technical college

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Photo submitted At the winter conference of the Colorado Association of Career and Technical Administrators, incoming director Michael Klouser (left) had the honor of presenting a service award to John Jones, who is retiring as director of DMTC.

Rep. Millie Hamner, Rep. Yeulin Willett, Sen. Kerry Donovan and Sen. Don Coram are sponsoring legislation that would change the name of Delta-Montrose Technical College to the Technical College of the Rockies.

Delta-Montrose Technical College is owned by Delta County Joint School District #50, but the name of the college, and the two other area technical colleges are specified in state statutes. Superintendent Caryn Gibson explains this bill will modify that statute.

The proposed name takes the place of an earlier suggestion, Rocky Mountain Technical College. The use of the word "mountain" drew objections from a community college.

Both suggestions are intended to reflect the larger geographical boundaries of the technical college, which originally provided career and technical education primarily to secondary and adult students in Delta and Montrose counties.

Changing the name will enhance the geographic and reputational distinctiveness of the college, House Bill 17-1258 asserts.

DMTC offers postsecondary certificates in practical nursing, emergency medical services, law enforcement, computer-aided design, early childhood, automotive, cosmetology, barbering, massage therapy and business. In addition to the main campus south of Delta, DMTC offers courses in Montrose, Gunnison and the West End of Montrose County. It's also anticipated some classes will be moved into the old City Market building in downtown Delta once the building has been renovated.

DMTC is one of three area technical colleges in the state. The other two are on the Front Range -- Emily Griffith

Technical College and Pickens Technical College.

DMTC will be drawing on the experience of Michael Klouser, assistant director at Pickens Technical College, as John Jones retires as college director.

Jones has been an employee of Delta County Joint School District #50 for 24 years. He has served as principal at Hotchkiss and Delta high schools, and replaced Bill Carlquist at the district office as transportation and community/school relations director. He has served two stints at Delta-Montrose Technical College, the first from 2000-2005. He returned to DMTC in 2010 and has been there since.

Nationally, Jones noted, there's renewed interest in career and technical training. One factor is the high cost of a four-year college degree. Students often leave college with a large debt and few job opportunities. The swing back to technical training has resulted in more jobs that require either a career certificate or a two-year degree -- jobs that require the kind of training offered by DMTC.

"The school is well positioned to broaden its outreach and there's a demand for our programs right now, so the timing is right," Jones said of the name change. "This is an exciting time for the technical college to reach out and do some broader programming for adults and secondary students."

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