On January 25, Governor Polis delivered his annual State of the State’s address. He underscored the importance of accessible postsecondary education and workforce development in our state which has “two jobs for every unemployed Coloradan.”
The reality is that today’s economy demands access to quick skill acquisition, whether that is a one-, two- or four-year degree, professional training, an apprenticeship, or on-the job training. We are going to jumpstart access to training to help more Coloradans be career ready, earn more, and power our economy.
He highlighted progress and remaining opportunities to help more high school students get a head start on postsecondary education, access career pathways and work-based learning in high school.
Let’s ensure that every student has access to career-connected learning while they are in high school and let’s reward those schools that are doing more to help their students succeed in the workforce and in life! Whether it’s dual and concurrent enrollment, career and technical education, work-based learning and apprenticeship, or even receiving an industry certification or associate degree.
These are critical policy areas that Colorado Succeeds has helped to shape and is committed to expanding going forward. Colorado Succeeds has also focused on ensuring there is a short path to an industry aligned credential, something Polis also focused on. In fact, he wants to make many paths to high demand credentials free of charge by expanding on last year’s proven approach in healthcare.
Last year we created Care Forward Colorado, which makes it completely free for Colorado students to pursue careers in health care at any community or technical colleges, and guess what, demand and enrollment increased. But we want to go beyond just healthcare and into other areas where we are experiencing shortages.
He cited construction, firefighting, law enforcement, nursing, and early childhood as possible areas for investment.
Throughout, a critical theme of Polis’s speech was the importance of aligning with the needs of Colorado’s business community to help repair our talent pipeline.
And yet, the conversation around the critical challenges of Colorado’s talent pipeline isn’t new. We need to put our state’s students on the path to postsecondary and career success and cultivate a pipeline of workers for in-demand jobs across the state.
Colorado Succeeds will continue to put our expertise in the intersection of education, business, and government to work in service of clearing the path so that more Coloradans have a path to economic mobility.