A Brief History of CCCS

Colorado’s community colleges have played a vital role throughout much of the state’s history. The diverse programs offered by the Colorado Community College System (CCCS) today are the product of a long tradition of providing accessible, affordable education opportunities to students across the state who seek to improve their lives.

  • 1800Education for a Changing Environment
    Post-secondary education became available in Colorado in the latter half of the 1800s, with a focus on vocational and agricultural studies. Interest in vocational programs picked up steam as Colorado’s cities and towns sought to reduce their dependence on the volatile mining industry.
  • 1927Faculty and students from Trinidad State Junior College’s first graduating class, 1927.
    1927 First Graduating Class CCCS
  • 1950'sWorkers for a New Marketplace

    As Coloradans left the mining towns for the more diverse economic centers such as Denver and Colorado Springs, demand was created for practical education that would make these “displaced workers” viable in the marketplace. Several private schools were opened, but there were also early attempts to create public vocational education opportunities.

    Stenography vocational class

    Stenography was one of many vocational classes offered in the 1950s.

  • 1958Sophomore class officers at Trinidad State Junior College, 1958.
    Trinidad State Junior College, Sophomore Class Officers
  • 1967Colorado Community College System Created

    Although some of our colleges were founded as early as the 1920s and 1930s, the Colorado Community College System was effectively created in 1967 with the passage of the Community College and Occupational Act. This Act established the State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education (SBCCOE) to share control of the state’s system of community colleges with the local district school boards.

    Adult Graduate and Daughter

    Adults have long formed the core of community college enrollment.

  • 1986Colorado Community College and Occupational Education System Established
    In 1986, the SBCCOE established the Colorado Community College and Occupational Education System (CCCOES), which comprised the state community colleges governed by the board, as well as other providers of vocational education in Colorado. In 2002, the CCCOES became CCCS, and today we serve over 125,000 students across Colorado at 13 colleges and 35+ campuses.
  • 2017Driving Colorado's Workforce
    We continue to meet Colorado’s workforce needs by providing cutting-edge career and technical education, as well as dozens of transfer programs for students who wish to pursue degrees at four-year institutions. As of 2017, CCCS produced almost 40% of the degrees and certificates awarded in Colorado.