On September 5, CCCS President Joe Garcia joined prominent Colorado leaders of higher education to discuss how their institutions are preparing and adapting to better serve the needs of students and answered audience’s questions around emerging industry disruptors and pivoting in ever-changing political and economic climate. The panel was part of a series of events celebrating  Dr. Janine Davidson’s one year inauguration as president of Metropolitan State University of Denver.

Joe Garcia speaks during MSU Inauguration Week panel

Joe shared the stage with Dr. Davidson, University of Denver Chancellor Dr. Rebecca Chopp, Colorado Mesa University President Tim Foster, and University of Colorado Denver Chancellor Dr. Dorothy Horrell.

Topics ranged from college affordability to workforce development to how Colorado will achieve state-wide higher education goals, and the discussion was moderated by Colorado Department of Higher Education Executive Director Dan Baer.

“We can’t look at graduation as the end of education. We need to reskill constantly,” Joe said on the topic of preparing students for the workforce. “When I look at my kids, they’ve already changed jobs several times and they’re barely 30 years old. Each time they change jobs, they’ve had to learn a new skill, learn how to deal with a new environment. Once students leave college, they are not done…they need to come back and learn those new skills that will help them move forward.”

President Garcia also focused on the importance of helping students of color, first generation students, and students from low-income families to complete college credentials: “We need to make sure that the students who start actually finish. These are the students who are most likely to come to college underprepared,” he said. “If you’re white and middle-class, you’re three times as likely to have a post-secondary education than if you’re Latino and working class.”

Click here to watch the full discussion.