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- Skills Mismatch
As the Colorado Assembly wrapped up their legislative session for 2013, the Skills2Compete Colorado Coalitionwas pleased to see the passage of several key workforce bills sent to Governor Hickenlooper for signature.
Accelerated Education and Skills Training (House Bill 13-1005): Sponsored by Reps. John Buckner (D-Aurora) and Rhonda Fields (D-Aurora), along with Sen. Nancy Todd (D-Aurora), HB 13-1005 is an accelerated education and training effort patterned after Washington’s IBEST (integrated basic education and skills training) program. The bill provides the community college system the on-going authority to develop and offer IBEST-type programs for low skilled workers. It allows the State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education, in collaboration with the local district junior colleges, area vocational schools, the Department of Education, and local adult education and workforce development programs, to implement career and technical education certificate programs. Certificate programs will be designed to allow completion within 12 months, with each program combining math and literacy skills with career and technical training.
Manufacturing Career Pathways (House Bill 13-1165): This bill requires the State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education, in conjunction with the Department of Labor and Employment, the State Work Force Development Council, the Department of Higher Education, and the Department of Education, to design a manufacturing career pathway for the skills needed for employment in Colorado's manufacturing sector. The manufacturing career pathway will connect school districts, community colleges, and 4-year institutions of higher education with adult education programs and local workforce development programs and allow students to earn income while progressing along the career pathway. This initiative is funded at over $1 million over the next two years. It is hoped that this bill is the beginning of additional future investments in sectors based career pathways programs in Colorado.
Colorado Careers Act/Transitional Jobs (House Bill 13-1004): Originally proposed as a $2 million career pathways program, the bill was later amended to a $2.4 million transitional jobs bill. The bill directs the Department of Human Services to administer a transitional jobs program to provide grants to eligible local entities that will enable low-income individuals to acquire work experience and on the job training to obtain or improve their employability.
These workforce related bills received a wide range of stakeholder support including employers and industry associations. Colorado Center for Law and Policy (CCLP), Bell Policy Center, and other S2C partners held numerous meetings with key legislators and testified in support of these proposals. The coalition will continue to work with stakeholders, legislators, and staff during the implementation of these new programs. Looking ahead to 2014, coalition efforts will continue to focus on a range of human capital investments to increase the skills of Colorado workers.