COLORADO SPRINGS – Dec. 21, 2016 – The GE Johnson Construction Company Community Foundation has awarded $250,000 to Pikes Peak Community College Foundation and the Foundation for Colorado Community Colleges to help create a pipeline of skilled workers for the local construction industry and provide scholarships to students at rural community colleges statewide.

“Workforce development, specifically the availability of a skilled trades associate degree like the one that will be available as a result of this commitment, is key for the success of the construction industry,” said Jim Johnson, CEO of GE Johnson Holding Company, GE Johnson Construction Company and GE Johnson Community Foundation. “This partnership with the Foundation for Colorado Community Colleges and the Pikes Peak Community College Foundation, most importantly, supports the community college network and the construction industry through skilled trades scholarships for the Pikes Peak Region and rural community colleges.”

With Colorado Springs area homebuilding at a 10-year high and a nine percent increase in the number of available construction industry jobs from 2015 to 2016, the local construction industry faces a severe shortage of skilled workers. The GE Johnson gift will fund PPCC’s development of a degree and certificate program as well as provide scholarships in Building and Construction Technology.

“Warren Buffet once said, ‘Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.’ Jim Johnson is a great steward of the future; this donation will not only address an immediate need for a skilled workforce, but will also give many students, traditional and non-traditional, the opportunity for a rewarding career in the field of construction,” said Renee Zentz, CEO of the Housing & Building Association of Colorado Springs and PPCC Foundation board member.

"We are building a significant construction program at PPCC because we know there is a significant need for trained workers in our fast-growing region," said PPCC President Lance Bolton. "Jim Johnson's generous gift will not only help us launch this program, but will provide scholarships that will create opportunities for many students. Supporting scholarships is a priority for PPCC and this gift brings the PPCC Foundation close to its goal of raising $1 million in new scholarship funds by Dec. 31, 2016.”

PPCC will receive $170,000 of GE Johnson’s gift that will provide:

• $100,000 to PPCC for the Jim Johnson Construction Challenge.

o This challenge provides $100,000, which will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative (Scholarship Initiative). With this match, Johnson’s gift will provide $200,000 to provide scholarships for the first class of the construction degree and certificate program. Johnson is further challenging PPCC and the construction industry to match this amount to provide another $100,000 needed to support the degree and certificate program. To meet this challenge, PPCC has already committed $50,000 to the program. The PPCC Foundation will work with the Housing & Building Association of Colorado Springs and regional members of the Associated General Contractors of Colorado to raise the remaining $50,000.

• $60,000 to PPCC for scholarships to students studying career and technical education.

o This funding will also be matched by Scholarship Initiative.

• $10,000 to PPCC to support strategic initiatives at the PPCC Foundation.

Jim Johnson, a member of the State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education, is also providing a gift of $80,000 to the Foundation for Colorado Community Colleges. The system’s rural colleges will receive $70,000 that will be matched by Scholarship Initiative, and $10,000 will be provided to the Foundation for strategic initiatives.

“We are grateful for this extraordinary support from Jim and GE Johnson,” said Dr. Nancy McCallin, President of the Colorado Community College System. “We strive to assure that our community colleges provide an affordable and accessible education to all Coloradans who aspire to enrich their lives. The vast majority of our students are Colorado residents and, after graduation, 97 percent stay in state, becoming the workforce that powers the Colorado economy and the heart of our neighborhoods, businesses and communities.”

Rural Colleges receiving $10,000 each include Colorado Northwestern Community College, Lamar Community College, Morgan Community College, Northeastern Junior College, Otero Junior College, Pueblo Community College and Trinidad State Community College.

In total, once matched by the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative, PPCC, and the construction industry, the GE Johnson gift will leverage an additional $330,000 in funding, for a total impact of $580,000.

ABOUT GE JOHNSON CONSTRUCTION COMMUNITY FOUNDATIONFounded in 2014, the GE Johnson Construction Community Foundation’s primary purpose is to continue GE Johnson Construction Company’s past philanthropic efforts in the Rocky Mountain Region and beyond. Since its inception in 1967, GE Johnson has demonstrated a long-standing commitment to the community by supporting numerous non-profit agencies, with a focus on organizations which benefit the arts, health/human services, education, the environment and sports/recreation in the Rocky Mountain Region.

GE Johnson Construction Company was founded in Colorado Springs and is one of the premier construction firms in the Rocky Mountain and Central Regions. A leader in providing the full spectrum of integrated project delivery services, the firm specializes in complex and schedule driven projects in a variety of niches. The company has completed more than $8 billion in projects and maintains offices in: Colorado Springs, Denver, and Vail, Colorado; Casper and Jackson, Wyoming; and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

ABOUT PPCC
Pikes Peak Community College is in its 48th year of operation and has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission since 1975. It is a two-year college offering 158 associate degrees and various certifications in career and technical fields. With three campuses and two military education centers in El Paso County, PPCC serves approximately 20,000 students annually and is the largest college or university in Southern Colorado.

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MEDIA CONTACTS

Warren Epstein, Executive Director, Marketing and Communication, Pikes Peak Community College, 719-393-5792, warren.epstein@ppcc.edu

Angie Binder, Director of Public Information, Colorado Community College System, 303-595-1641, angie.binder@cccs.edu