Earlier this month, Gov. Polis unveiled his 2022 budget that includes increased investments in education and workforce development. Importantly, the Governor’s budget includes funding for many of Colorado Succeeds’ aligned priorities across the preschool to postsecondary spectrum. Below are the highlights:
The Governor’s 2022 budget proposes the largest investment in K-12 spending in Colorado’s history. The proposal increases the overall budget by three percent over last year’s budget to $6.6B. This equates to an overall increase of $381.2M. Other highlights that align with Colorado Succeeds priorities include an:
- Increase of $10M for the Colorado Charter School Institute, providing a safety net for expanded public school options for students;
- Allocation of an additional $1.8M in federal funding to the Career Development Incentive Program, championed by Colorado Succeeds back in 2016, to ensure schools are incentivized to provide career-connected learning; and
- Allocation of $1.8M in federal funding for concurrent enrollment expansion to provide more students with postsecondary options while in high school.
In the upcoming legislative session, the Governor and lawmakers will pump in an unprecedented amount of funding to the state’s postsecondary system. Made possible by federal COVID relief funds and state priorities from 2021, Gov. Polis’ budget provides an increase of $9.8M for student financial aid and $139.8M in capital maintenance and improvements directed toward underserved institutions. Other key investments include:
- $7M for non-degree credentials at technical colleges, community colleges, and other institutions. These funds will both provide direct support to students seeking to upskill or reskill and provides institutions with funds to expand in-demand programs;
- $3M for a revamped higher education dashboard, creating a comprehensive data collection and reporting system that will increase transparency; and,
- $92M in federal funding for regional talent collaborative programs, connecting supply and demand sides of the Colorado economy through high-demand, high-wage, credentials and pathways.
The pandemic highlighted the importance of investing in workforce development, including upskilling the current workforce and providing meaningful opportunities for students to align their education with future work. Highlights include:
- $5M infusion for worker opportunities (navigational services, outreach, and work-based learning opportunities, including apprenticeships); and,
- $60M investment for the Reskilling, Upskilling, and Next-Skilling Workers Program and the Workforce Innovation Act. These funds are, among other things, supporting individuals in gaining industry recognized credentials and creating opportunities for new investment in talent development strategies across Colorado.
Colorado Succeeds is closely working with state agencies as well as the Governor’s office on a few of these shared priorities, with a focus on leveraging funding to increase high quality career connected learning for students.