Dave and Cindy Batka, owners of Wheels Manufacturing Inc., want to build a pipeline for Colorado’s manufacturing industry by graduating skilled workers from Front Range Community College today and tomorrow.

Half of their recent $20,000 donation to the FRCC Foundation will fund scholarships encouraging students to obtain one of the many manufacturing degrees and certificates offered by the college.

Wheels Manuf 2161

From left, Kristen Bernhardt, foundation board member; Dave Batka, Wheels Manufacturing; Matt Jamison, FRCC dean; Cindy Batka, Wheels Manufacturing; Jennifer Fyhrie, CHAMP grant navigator; Ryan McCoy, foundation executive director; Nancy Hamilton, foundation chair; and Nicole Gervace, CHAMP employer outreach coordinator.

“We have two goals,” Cindy Batka said. “The $10,000 for scholarships will benefit current students. The remaining $10,000 will establish a scholarship endowment. We hope this endowment motivates other companies and individuals to invest with us in the future of manufacturing in Colorado.”

“This generous and creative gift is very welcome and well targeted,” said Ryan McCoy, executive director of the foundation. “It will not only make a difference to the 5,900 manufacturing companies in the state that are facing a shortage of skilled workers, but it also will make a difference to many of our hardworking, deserving students who are striving for success.”

Wheels Manufacturing Inc. is one of the world’s largest suppliers of high-quality bicycle derailleur hangers, small parts, repair parts, and specialty tools. The Batkas started the business in Boulder in 1988. It began as a small machine shop producing cog removal tools and chain ring spacers. Quickly it grew into a large-scale manufacturing facility producing a full line of small parts totaling over 900 products. It is now located in Louisville, about 10 miles from its original location.

Since the foundation’s inception, McCoy said, it has awarded more than $6 million in scholarships, grants, and program assistance to students, faculty, and staff members.

“Our scholarship applicants are working moms, dads, and single parents,” McCoy said. “They are veterans. Many are the first in their family to strive for a college degree. Most are in the workforce, balancing jobs, family, and their education. Two-thirds have an annual household income of less than $20,000.”

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About Front Range Community College

FRCC offers nearly 100 degree and certificate programs from locations in Boulder County, Larimer County, Westminster, and Brighton, and online.

FRCC is a member of the Colorado Community College System (CCCS), the state’s largest system of higher education, with 13 colleges across Colorado serving more than 151,000 students annually. CCCS is a vital statewide pathway to individual achievement and economic vitality. Further, CCCS institutions provide an accessible, responsive learning environment that facilitates the achievement of educational, professional, and personal goals by our students and other members of our communities, and each fosters an atmosphere that embraces academic excellence, diversity, and innovation.

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