This spring, Colorado Succeeds and Common Sense Institute Colorado (CSI) presented a 2024 Supply and Demand report to business audiences in Denver, Colorado Springs, and Fort Collins.

Coordinated in partnership with Colorado Springs Chamber and EDC, Housing and Building Association of Colorado Springs, Ft. Collins Area Chamber of Commerce, all three events teed up CSI Fellow and report co-author Jason Gaulden with local postsecondary administrators and local business leaders to discuss how they work together in their respective communities to create partnership between business and the learner.

Additionally, Colorado Succeeds Vice President of Policy & Advocacy Katie Zaback presented five recommendations that will help close the talent gaps. The Education to Employment Alliance, of which Colorado Succeeds is a member, developed these recommendations.

“There are two jobs for every unemployed Coloradan,” said Zaback, “and while Colorado has a very educated workforce, we’re importing talent, not growing our own.”

The three-city roadshow, with panels designed to provide perspective from local business, education and civic leaders provided localized insights and challenges. One commonality was the voice of higher education. The three school presidents offered unique insights on how to ensure students leave ready for workforce and economic mobility.

In Denver, Dr. Janine Davidson of Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU)—an access university—shared how MSU is connecting students with employers for direct access to the workforce through the University’s Classroom to Career Hub.

During the Colorado Springs events, Dr. Lance Bolton, President of Pikes Peak State College (PPSC)— a community college—explained how PPSC students graduate with their choice of an associate degree or certification in career and technical education program, ready to enter the workforce or transfer to a four-year university.

However, in Fort Collins, Amy Parsons, President of Colorado State University—a flagship university—shared with attendees that tuition is waived for students from families earning less than $90k a year. Without a financial deterrent, students are free to obtain their degrees without tuition loans or being handcuffed by debt.

The principal members of the Education to Employment Alliance supported five bills during the 2024 Legislative Session, aligning learner support to workforce development. Read more in Colorado Succeeds’ 2024 legislative recap.