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- Skills Mismatch
On January 8, a group of Colorado legislators, accompanied by members of the Skills2Compete-Colorado campaign announced the “Skills for Jobs Act”—an innovative proposal to align Colorado’s labor market openings with the graduates of the state’s workforce training programs. Led by Rep. Daniel Kagan (D-Cherry Hills Village), the purpose of the Skills for Jobs Act is to match skilled applicants with companies that have job openings.
The legislation requires Colorado's Department of Labor to share information about job openings with workforce training programs, colleges and vocational schools and requires the Department of Higher Education, in consultation with the Department of Labor and other state agencies, to produce an annual report regarding state workforce projections and education credential production. The report will project Colorado’s workforce needs and the expected production of degrees, certificates, and other credentials produced throughout the state. The bill includes public and private institutions of higher education, private occupational schools, local district colleges, area vocational schools, high school vocational programs, apprenticeship programs, and other public or private workforce training programs expected to issue credentials over the three-year period following the report.
The report will assess whether Colorado’s workforce needs are not being met by the state’s current degree and certificate production, and will identify institutions—public and private—that can address these workforce needs through new programs or the expansion of existing ones.
Appearing alongside Rep. Kagan at the announcement were Skills2Compete-Colorado members Paula Gomez Farrell, Director of SkillBuild Colorado, Rich Jones, Director of Policy and Research at the Bell Policy Center. As part of the campaign, Skills2Compete-Colorado made four key policy recommendations to ensure that all Colorado residents have access to good jobs and that industry has the skilled workers needed to rebuild the economy. Rep. Kagan’s proposed legislation supports S2C-Colorado’s recommendation to measure how public funding is being used to help Colorado residents obtain a broad range of credentials that meet the needs of industries across the state.
The Skills for Jobs Act demonstrates yet another state’s policy effort to align credential outcomes with labor market needs as a way to increase job placements and reduce the state’s skills gap.
"Companies sometimes have a hard time finding well-qualified applicants to fill jobs, and Colorado's well-qualified applicants are having a hard time finding those companies," Rep. Kagan said. "This bill seeks to bridge that gap."
A hearing for this bill will take place on January 25, with several members of the S2C-Coloradocampaign scheduled to testify.