From Policy to Practice: Nearly $6 Million in Opportunity Now Grants Awarded to Colorado Succeeds-Supported Education & Workforce Projects

Colorado Succeeds is proud to play a role in two impactful education and workforce development projects, announced as recipients of Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade Opportunity Now Seed Grants: Careers in Construction Expansion with Project SCALE and the Colorado Rural Talent Network.

Not only will these projects directly impact students across Colorado, but they will also help us learn and scale new strategies for ensuring all Colorado students graduate with meaningful credit toward a postsecondary credential, a career-connected experience, and/or an industry-recognized credential.

Both projects build on years of work between Colorado Succeeds and numerous partners across the state. This historic funding will continue the work for learners and business through:

This project brings together construction, education institutions, work-sector partnerships, and nonprofits to build on ten years of innovation – by creating a connected and cumulative career pathway in construction. Fully supported by both industry and education, this program increases top-of-the-funnel talent from K-12 through postsecondary education and accelerates students’ educational paths and entry into the workforce. The expected award is $2.87 million, supporting the continuation of work launched by Associated General Contractors, Careers in Construction Colorado, the Colorado Community College System, Colorado Succeeds, Weifield Group Contracting, and more than 25 other partners.

Read more about Project SCALE: Statewide Stackable Credential Pathways in Construction & Skilled Trades.

A cooperative of four Colorado Rural Collaboratives – the Fremont Multi-District Initiative, Southwest Colorado Education Collaborative, Western Slope Schools Career Collaborative, and Yampa Valley Partnership for Students, Stewardship, and Sustainability – is anticipating an award of nearly $3 million to support more than 10,000 students across four regions to continue building industry-aligned pathways, including college and career navigation, concurrent enrollment, career and technical education, and work-based learning. This blended coalition will collectively serve 20 school districts in 12 counties, seven higher education partners, and non-profit business and industry partners in each region. This rural work was seeded five years ago by investments to create the Homegrown Talent Initiative, established with the Colorado Education Initiative, and now expanded to include Empower Schools and Lyra Colorado.

Read more about the career-connected learning work and impacts that have occurred and are emerging in rural Colorado in this recent report.

In 2021, the Student Success & Workforce Revitalization Task Force, on which Colorado Succeeds President Scott Laband served, released a report to the legislature, recommending a slate of bold and innovative efforts to make Colorado more affordable and create student success in today’s work environment. Their recommendations led to pivotal work with the governor’s office and the legislature to help establish Opportunity Now.

“Opportunity Now is an exceptional step for our state to ensure we are preparing Colorado’s learners for Colorado’s jobs,” shared Scott Laband, president at Colorado Succeeds. “Colorado Succeeds congratulates all Opportunity Now grant recipients and thanks them for their efforts to strengthen our workforce and empower a generation of Colorado learners to shape their futures.”

The Opportunity Now Grant Program is a groundbreaking step in ensuring Colorado communities create and expand innovative workforce and talent initiatives. Over the course of three rounds, Opportunity Now seeks to provide $85 Million in funding to catalyze innovation for Colorado’s workforce. Seed funding is provided to initiatives aiming to launch innovative models to address Colorado’s workforce and talent challenges.