Employers Advocate for Work-Based Learning Incentives

According to the Colorado Talent Pipeline Report, sectors like healthcare, construction, and IT are expected to grow between 30-50% over the next decade. If these industries are going to have the necessary talent to support that growth, then we must expand experiential learning opportunities by passing SB22-140.

Work-based learning is a win-win for Colorado learners and businesses; providing opportunities for students to gain real-world experience and connect their classroom learning to future careers, and developing talent pipelines for businesses looking to fill in-demand jobs.

Introduced earlier this month by Sen. James Coleman and Rep. Barbara McLachlan, the Expansion of Experiential Learning Opportunities Bill, SB22-140, encourages employer-sponsored work-based learning programs by offsetting some of the indirect costs associated with these programs, including the training needed to successfully run a work-based learning program internally and with external educational partners.

In a hearing on March 16, business leaders testified in support of this bill, highlighting the value it would bring to employers across the state:

As President of the Colorado Business Roundtable, I represent employers from academia, business, community, and government. While we work on long term policy issues as an affiliate of the national Business Roundtable, there is no greater issue facing these employers than workforce…. We are in support of Senate Bill 22-140 because Colorado needs new and innovative paths for learners to become earners. And, the incentives will create new partnerships and learning pathways that provide a critical pipeline of talent for employers.

Debbie Brown, President, Colorado Business Roundtable

I support this legislation because of the support it will provide in better connecting employers to K-12 and higher education. My company has experienced some great success in this area, but I know many employers struggle with this. We are currently working with Calhan and Peyton School districts to develop an internship program for students to gain experience in the cybersecurity sector. But help is needed. As an employer, I run into numerous obstacles: who will manage the interns, how do we train our staff to effectively work with young people, scheduling, coordinating transportation, just to name a few barriers. SB22-140 helps to address some of these obstacles.

Jonathan Steenland, Co-founder Partner, ForceNow

This bill is also supported by the following organizations:

  • Association of General Contractors
  • CareerWise Colorado
  • Colorado Center on Law and Policy
  • Colorado Equitable Economic Mobility Initiative
  • Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce
  • National Federation of Independent Business
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