This past year, our business coalition made important progress in transforming our state’s education and workforce development systems.
  • Expanded the Career Development Incentive Program through a 10-year, $95 million investment to help high school students earn industry-recognized credentials and access high-quality work-based learning opportunities. This move creates long-term stability and sufficient funding for what was previously a $1 million pilot program that has already transformed high-school career-connected learning.
  • Invested over $70 Million in improving Colorado’s school-to-work pipeline through policies that provide students with free access to in-demand, short-term credentials in labor-challenged fields such as health care, construction, law enforcement, and education and established a new scholarship program for Colorado high school graduates that provides awards to students pursuing high-priority postsecondary education and workforce training opportunities. The scholarship program has the capacity to serve 15,000 graduating high school students in the Class of 2024, more than 25% of all high school graduates statewide.
  • Passed groundbreaking legislation to improve math outcomes in K-12. The legislation is the first of its kind in the nation, implementing an all-encompassing approach to addressing the 50,000 Colorado students who are currently struggling with math. It provides a $28 million investment in evidence-based math strategies for educators to get students back on track to math proficiency.
  • Passed two laws that will significantly expand resources for 300,000 adults in Colorado without a high school diploma to access the education they need to pursue credentials aligned to our state’s labor market.
  • Delivered technical assistance and partnership support to over 60 rural school districts in expanding high-quality career-connected learning experiences for over 20,000 high school students through regional pathways development and resource sharing in partnership with 1,000 local business and community partners across Colorado.
  • Advised and coached over 200 high school students from low-income households to access over $900,000 in Path4Ward scholarship funds to pursue postsecondary and career pathways aligned with their interests and opportunities for economic mobility.
  • Developed a blueprint for equitable, stackable pathways to economic mobility through a construction case study in Jefferson County. More than 50 business and education partners were engaged, along with over 500 young adults. The blueprint will serve as a statewide model and proof point for scale, leveraging aligned opportunities Colorado Succeeds is supporting, including the 1215 Task Force Recommendations, Accelerate ED, and Project SCALE.
  • Supported nearly 50 education and business partners in applying for over $8M in state and federal funding through strategic thought partnership and grant writing supports. Projects span from sustaining and scaling rural career-connected learning and regional pathways development to programs and prototypes that quickly move Coloradans into in-demand, high-wage occupations.
  • Helped launch the Education to Employment Alliance, aimed at organizing the collective influence of business to address Colorado’s talent needs by improving our postsecondary and workforce development systems.
  • Prepared and placed business leaders and representatives to serve on powerful state task forces and committees, ensuring the voice of industry is active, heard, and influential – including one that aims to blur the lines between high school, postsecondary, and career through a new state plan.
  • Convened leaders in business, education, and government for a half-day summit on the Future of Work to discuss actionable workforce development strategies.
  • Facilitated a two-day design thinking workshop for business executives to address the challenges that prevent small, medium, and large companies from offering career-connected learning experiences.
Looking ahead, here are the top five efforts we are eager to move forward in the new year.
  • Support the Education to Employment Alliance in building a business-led effort to transform our postsecondary and workforce systems by executing the recommendations in our Economic Mobility report.
  • Implement the recommendations of the state’s Secondary, Postsecondary, and Work-Based learning integration taskforce to ensure more students are graduating high school with college credit, industry-recognized credentials, and high-quality career-connected learning experiences.
  • Work with bipartisan legislative leaders to improve Colorado’s School Finance Act and ensure funding is equitably allocated toward learners with the greatest needs.
  • Support 40 new high schools, representing more than 30,000 Colorado students, with a majority from low-income backgrounds or identifying as Hispanic/Latino, in increasing student participation in college and career navigation, work-based learning, concurrent enrollment, and community partnerships to improve postsecondary outcomes.
  • Provide industry partners with $400,000 in incentive funding and technical assistance to increase the number of businesses engaging in high-quality work-based learning in rural communities across eight regions.

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