Photo: At CoorsTek on March 20, 2024, Gov. Polis, and the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) announced 43 recipients of the Opportunity Now Colorado grant program

Axis Health System and Pueblo Community College Southwest Awarded Prestigious Opportunity Now Colorado Grant Program to Transform Healthcare Education and Workforce Development

Axis Health System and partner Pueblo Community College Southwest (PCCSW) are a Phase 2 Grant Recipient of the Opportunity Now Colorado Grant Program – an $85 million grant program initiative of the Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT), catalyzing transformative change for Colorado’s workforce. The Seed grant is designed to spur innovation in education, employment, and workforce development by creating new partnerships and solutions. Of the 43 grant recipients, lead applicants are based in 19 Colorado counties, with nearly half of the funds going to rural areas of Colorado and led by grant recipients who are in rural Colorado.

The $1.3 million award will support the Axis and PCCSW partnership to launch the Healthcare Education Access Launchpad Southwest (HEAL SW), an innovative rural work-based learning program. Developed in collaboration with a consortium of industry, education, and tribal partners in southwest Colorado, HEAL SW is designed to address the healthcare workforce shortage and inequities in starting healthcare careers, ultimately increasing economic mobility for many people throughout the region. HEAL SW also advances statewide efforts to bolster equitable labor force participation in Colorado.

“I am proud to be part of an institution dedicated to serving southwest Colorado’s workforce needs,” said Lisa Snyder, executive dean of PCC Southwest. “Our partnership with Axis exemplifies our commitment to providing quality healthcare education that prepares our students for success in the region’s evolving job market. Together, we are shaping a brighter future for our community through education and collaboration.”

Healthcare remains the region’s leading employment sector. Yet, a shortage of qualified healthcare professionals, particularly in behavioral health and positions that require less than a 2-year degree, continues to hinder growth in the sector. It’s an urgent call to prepare a diverse workforce with the competencies necessary for in-demand healthcare jobs and serve the underrepresented patient populations in rural southwest Colorado.

Through the Opportunity Now Colorado Grant Program, Axis will build and PCCSW will operate a cutting-edge health science learning hub at Axis’ new Durango Integrated Healthcare clinic. The project guarantees immersive work-based learning experiences and aligns learning objectives with industry, leading to increased retention and long-term career advancement.

For more information about the Opportunity Now Colorado Grant Program Visit


About Axis Health System:

Axis Health System is a Colorado 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and trusted name in providing quality healthcare across Archuleta, Dolores, La Plata, Montezuma, San Juan, Montrose, Delta, Gunnison, Hinsdale, San Miguel, and Ouray counties in Colorado. As a compassionate, inclusive, and professional health service provider, Axis provides access to a wide array of primary care, mental health, substance use, oral health, pharmacy, and crisis services. Our organization is dedicated to improving the health and well-being of our communities and providing quality, accessible health care that makes a meaningful difference in the lives of our patients.

For media inquiries, please contact Haley Leonard Saunders, Public Information Officer, 970.335.2207

About Pueblo Community College:

Founded in 1933, Pueblo Community College is a premier teaching institution focused on providing academic and service excellence, without discrimination, to help its students acquire the 21st-century skills needed to better their lives. An educational and technological leader, PCC fosters economic development and utilizes strong partnerships in the communities it serves through its Pueblo, Fremont and Southwest campuses.