This month’s VISTA Spotlight is Cindy Packer of Colorado Mountain College.

“I have been a VISTA at Colorado Mountain College since March 2019. Colorado Mountain College has been serving the higher education needs in the mountain communities of Colorado since 1965. CMC takes pride in being rated as the top adventure school.  My department, The School of Transitional Education, assists the unconventional student that has barriers such as limited English proficiency or lack of high school education which may prevent them from the traditional higher education programs.”

“I had looked into the Peace Corps when I was younger and just out of school, but had never even heard of AmeriCorps before I met Jean a few years ago. She had just finished a year in AmeriCorps when she came to work with me in protective investigations. She was an experienced professional who chose to change careers. She talked about how she loved her year of service and how much it helped her grow and understand what people really needed to help themselves overcome their barriers. I thought then that if I ever got the opportunity and an interesting position was available I would give it a try. After enjoying the equivalent of a three year long Gap year, AmeriCorps is helping me make a lateral career transition into a different way of helping others.”

“I am working on several projects aiming towards the development and funding of the English as a Second Language (ESL), Career Technical Education (CTE) and High School Equivalency (HSE) programs in an effort to meet the changing needs of the communities we serve. We are piloting several projects to expand our CTE offerings to be available in conjunction with our HSE and ESL classes. We are researching and developing processes to streamline the registration and testing requirements throughout our programs. We are in the process of possibly adding a workforce diploma program to our current HSE offerings through a grant I co-wrote. I also bring workshops directly to our students to provide resources to help them overcome their barriers to their careers and education.”