According to Colorado’s Talent Pipeline Report in 2022, 91.4% of jobs that pay a wage sufficient to sustain a family require some postsecondary education past a high school diploma. However, the National Skills Coalition estimates that almost half of all jobs in Colorado require some postsecondary training but not a bachelor’s degree.
To fill growing gaps between talent needed and talent available, employers are increasingly seeking more direct partnerships with workers and education providers via earn-and-learn models like apprenticeships and other work-based learning experiences. Despite these efforts, there are currently two to three jobs available for every Colorado active job seeker.
To address these gaps and showcase promising solutions, Governor Polis has named September Workforce Development Month. Throughout the month, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) and the Colorado Workforce Development Council will be featuring resources that workers, employers, and their communities can use to advance careers, grow businesses, and achieve economic resiliency during one of Colorado’s tightest labor markets on record.
Work-based learning includes a continuum of activities ranging from educator-led to business-led–though ideally, all work-based learning is built around a strong partnership between educators, business and industry leaders, and higher education and training providers. Activities and experiences range from career mentoring and job shadows to internships to registered apprenticeships. Talent Found has developed an Assessment Guide as part of its Work-Based Learning Continuum: Learning About, Through, and At Work.
At its best, work-based learning is a collaborative effort to provide opportunity pathways that are seamless, coordinated, and accessible for learners. This requires strong partnerships across a variety of stakeholders who bring different levels of expertise, capacity, and resources to the table. While robust partnerships across multiple organizations and stakeholders are fantastic, smaller efforts that provide even one student with a unique opportunity to learn, and grow are just as valuable.
To learn more about Colorado’s ongoing workforce development, visit:
Colorado’s business leaders and educators/training providers must unite with the government to synchronize educational offerings with career-development pathways that help more homegrown opportunity seekers access a job offering economic mobility and security—of which apprenticeships and other career-connected work-based learning experiences are paramount.