GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KREX) — Colorado’s ranching, farming, and mining industries have a proud history and are valuable to the state’s economic growth.

Recovering from the pandemic has been challenging and Colorado’s economy took a hit statewide. Governor Jared Polis made several stops around town and signed some important new legislation into law.

The Governor met with state representatives and county leaders to improve the criminal justice system and increase access to affordable housing, but possibly the most exciting news, the Governor announced an initiative to make career and technical education more affordable for all Colorado students.

If the pandemic showed us anything, it’s that there is more than one way to do things, “Honestly, I think the world is just changing,” Celia Russell a Vet Technician said.

Russell was a student in Mesa County seeking higher education and for her, that meant choosing a different path, veterinary trade school at Western Colorado Community College, “It’s a lot more realistically obtainable and do able, especially for parents like me that had kids young,” Russell said.

For more than 30 years, Colorado Mesa University and WCCC’s unique dual mission of providing a wide range of certificates and degrees, has served the Western Slope well.

To meet the challenges of today’s economic climate, the learn for less initiative will make career and technical education courses more affordable, “We need people with strong skills to power our economic growth we need nurse techs, we need welders,” Governor Polis says.

There can be a lot of barriers to pursuing education, one of the biggest…is cost, “Reducing the costs around the very kind of credentialing programs by 40% that we need for our economy to grow and providing great opportunities for people is a great step forward,” Governor Polis says.

Beginning the fall 2022 semester, tuition and fees for WCCC career and technical courses will fall below the average state cost, but as Governor Polis says, we couldn’t have gotten here without community leaders, “It’s also of course important for us to reflect on and show our gratitude to Tillie and Pat,” Governor Polis.

Tillman bishop, or as many called him Tillie, influenced Colorado in the state legislature from Grand Junction for 28 years, his wife Pat taught business at Central High School, “Tillie’s love for the community college system surpasses anything you have ever seen,” Lena Elliott, former CMU Trustee says.

Elliott remembered Tillie, “He had a love and a passion for trade schools, pat was at Central High teaching business classes and together they wanted to educate them,” Elliott says.

The learn for less initiative encourages more Coloradans to find their passion and like Tillie and Pat, learn for less shows students they can learn from experience, not just textbooks, “They wanted to leave a legacy here and I think what’s happening today proves that they have left their legacy and it is so well deserved,” Elliott said.

To learn more about the Learn for less initiative visit: