Project SCALE: Statewide Stackable Credential Pathways in Construction & Skilled Trades

The Colorado Workforce Development Council (CWDC) has identified that Colorado needs 6,000 more construction laborers for the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) projects alone, for which the state hopes to win grants in the next few years. To meet future talent needs, 30,000 – 50,000 more construction and skilled trades professionals must be trained by 2030. These are the commercial electricians who wire our hospitals, carpenters who build our homes, and first-line supervisors who keep our infrastructure and regional economies running.

In May 2022, Colorado Succeeds convened more than one hundred employers, education providers, and public partners to discuss these critical construction talent shortages statewide. As a result of the event, a steering committee was formed to address these gaps. Over the next two years, the committee has carefully designed Project SCALE as an employer-led, data-driven partnership dedicated to the creation of sustainable and inclusive stackable construction pathways that benefit students, job seekers, and employers across Colorado.

Project SCALE aims to solve for three critical problems:

  • Skilled Labor Shortage – Colorado’s construction industry is experiencing a labor shortage of more than 30,000 workers. This is a problem that will only be exacerbated as the industry is projected to grow as much as 32% by 2030. Project SCALE will alleviate this issue by improving diversity in the industry through consistent on-ramps with a focus on those in underserved communities, women, and non-traditional workers.
  • Fragmented Educational Pathways – Current educational and experiential pathways in construction are disconnected, making it challenging for learners/earners to attain economic mobility. SCALE seeks to provide a clear path by “stacking” educational and work experiences to create a model of course credit from K-12 to registered apprenticeships to higher education programs.
  • Information and Perception Gaps – There is a need for clear and consistent industry-provided information. Project SCALE will offer in-depth information about careers in construction by explaining the many opportunities for career growth.

Led by Associated General Contractors, Construction Education Foundation, Careers in Construction Colorado, Colorado Community College System, Colorado Succeeds, and Weifield Group Contracting, Project SCALE continues to expand its partnerships across the state. Moving toward 2030, Project SCALE industry representatives will play a key leadership role in closing the skills gap for jobs most critical to Colorado’s competitiveness—by creating statewide stackable pathways for l/earners to fill high-demand, high-wage jobs.

photo of
Ben Gerig