Colorado Mountain College partners with Climax Molybdenum to offer electrician apprenticeship |

Colorado Mountain College partners with Climax Molybdenum to offer electrician apprenticeship

Corey Dechant, left, and Reid Glavin, both Henderson Mill employees, started an electrician apprenticeship Saturday through a new partnership between Colorado Mountain College and Freeport MacMoRan, parent corporation of the Climax Molybdenum Company and Henderson Mill. The company will pay the college to provide diagnostic electrician training for employees in Leadville and Summit County in a hybrid format and through use of the college’s mobile integrated energy lab.
Courtesy Colorado Mountain College |

Climax Molybdenum Co. needed help, and Colorado Mountain College came to the company’s aid.

The company found its industrial electrician positions hard to fill and approached Colorado Mountain College about creating a Summit County program where Climax employees could learn the trade.

The college worked with Climax parent company, Freeport-McMoRan, over the last few months to develop the program, and its four apprentices started class at the CMC campus in Dillon on Saturday, Sept. 6.

“This is the first time that we’ve done anything like this,” said Matt Gianneschi, COO for the college, adding that he hopes the agreement will become a model for more local corporations, like the ski resorts, as well as other colleges around the country.

In a “very close partnership,” he said, Climax agreed to pay CMC for the full cost of classes for its four apprentices, who will work for Climax while they study, as well as the cost of educating eight students in some classes with only the four apprentices, making the program financially feasible for the college.

The company also will pay CMC for transportation for faculty members, as the electrician program is normally run out of the Rifle campus, and other supplementary costs.

In exchange, the college works with the company to develop the program’s curriculum and provides the company with updates on the students’ progress.


Also starting this fall, students studying anywhere with Colorado Mountain College will notice changes in the college’s online interface when they log in.

The college’s board of trustees approved a contract Monday, Sept. 8, with Ellucian, a technology company that will provide new enhanced software that students will use for registration, financial aid, accounts payable and other services. The interface will be phased in slowly with changes every couple months.

Gianneschi said the board was given a ballpark figure of $1.5 million over the next two years that the college will pay the company for software products, training and staff support.


College employees will no longer receive a housing stipend this school year. Instead, the college incorporated the stipend into salaries, a change that went into effect with the new fiscal year in July.

The stipend was established in the mid-2000s around the peak of the housing market bubble, when the college struggled to hire people in resort communities with high costs of living.

The addition of the stipend to salaries affected employees differently based on their positions, Gianneschi said, but the change amounted to a 2 percent pay raise on average for all employees.

The college’s president, Carrie Hauser, is now eligible for similar across-the-board compensation adjustments, after the college’s board of trustees approved that amendment to her contract Monday.

The board also pushed back Hauser’s first evaluation from November to June to give the new president, who was hired in December, a full year on the job and keep her annual reviews consistent with a June date.


As for the college’s two campuses in Summit County, the board heard a few updates from Dave Askeland, vice president for CMC in Summit County.

At the Breckenridge campus, an effort to build a community greenhouse through a partnership with High Country Conservation Center is moving forward, he said. Organizers are discussing design, cost, funding and feasibility of the project, which was announced in March.

Askeland also talked about possibilities for a solar field at the Breckenridge campus to reduce utility bills and work with the college’s sustainability degree, though that project would be years away, and he discussed the ongoing need to address housing concerns for the growing student population in Summit.

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