Aspen Skiing Company and Aspen Community Foundation partner to support the Cradle to Career Initiative through the Ultimate Ski Pass Program. A $25,000 donation to the Cradle to Career Initiative gets you a transferrable pass for the season at Aspen Snowmass. Aspen Community Foundation’s Cradle to Career Initiative helps more than 22,000 children ages 0-18 from Aspen to Parachute by ensuring that they are ready for kindergarten and graduate from high school ready for college and career.
Since 2012 we have donated $795,000: $595,000 for college counselors across nine high schools from Aspen to Parachute; as well as $200,000 to support the Preschool on Wheels Program.
For many years Aspen High School had the only college counselor between Aspen and Parachute. Beginning in 2012 college counseling was expanded to Basalt High School. In 2015, Aspen Skiing Company’s Family Fund made a lead grant of $250,000 over five years to hire counselors in all nine of the Valley’s high schools. Then, we set up a challenge grant: if local businesses contribute another $250,000, we’ll match that too.
Why do we care? Here are some interesting facts:
When low-income students enter college needing remediation, fewer than 1 in 5 ever complete even a 2-year degree.
- 25% of low-income students do not graduate from high school
- 53% of high school graduates enroll in college
- 50% of incoming CMC students require remediation
Across America today, on average, people with 4-year degrees earn twice as much as those without a degree. And economists tell us that by 2020, 3/4th of our jobs in Colorado will require some form of postsecondary education (college, trade/vocational school or career-tech training).
A college counselor in every school supports a culture of college and career. These counselors:
- help students explore and plan for their future.
- teach classes that help students discover what really interests them, what kind of jobs and careers they want to pursue after school, and how to complete those often difficult applications and forms that are necessary for either vocational school or college.
- connect students with valuable internships and mentors during high school allowing students to explore their passions.
Preschool on Wheels launched in the fall of 2012 to improve access to childcare in the valley. At present only one out of three children in this region have access to quality preschool. Only 7% of this region’s low-income children attend preschool in the rural communities of Rifle, Silt and New Castle. Preschool on Wheels buses, Gus and Sunshine, are the first mobile preschools to be licensed in Colorado. They bring affordable, high-quality preschool to underserved neighborhoods to ensure these children enter kindergarten ready to learn and on par with their peers.
In 15/16 a total of 110 students enrolled, 50 on Gus and 60 on Sunshine, a 20% increase from the previous year. Of the 110 students, 25 returned for their second year and 55 are entering kindergarten in the fall of 2016. As of today, 349 students have been served through Preschool Wheels over the course of four years in operation.
Preschool on Wheels students see significant increases in cognitive, social-emotional, language and literacy skills. Students enter kindergarten ready to learn and families are knowledgeable about child development and how to foster school success through the program’s comprehensive parent engagement strategy.