The Latest on Education & Workforce: Five Recent State Reports

Over the last month, several state agencies have published reports critical to understanding education and workforce in Colorado. Often produced in response to legislation, these reports provide key information to help us understand our state’s needs and how our education and training system supports those needs.

As Colorado Succeeds focuses on improving education and training outcomes for all learners – and ensuring our industry has the talent it needs – the information shared in these reports plays a role in understanding the state’s educational landscape and supporting pathways to success for our students.

Learn about the reports and why you might want to check them out below.

A critical report for business leaders interested in understanding Colorado’s workforce development picture.

The Colorado Workforce Development Council has published this report annually to identify areas of growing demand and opportunity across the state, share current labor force trends and topics, and offer industry strategies to balance talent needs with availability. In fact, this report is so popular they are preparing to start releasing quarterly updates.

Of note is the list of Colorado’s top jobs – jobs with high demand that also pay a living wage. Also, be sure to review the policy recommendations, where you will see strong alignment with the Colorado Succeeds policy priorities.

See more via the Colorado Workforce Development Council’s website, including a link to the report launch event.

Helps students understand which pathway they should pursue, and all of us better understand Colorado’s colleges’ costs and outcomes.

Also published annually, the Colorado Department of Higher Education Return on Investment Report highlights the economic benefits and average costs of postsecondary education and helps students and families make choices that allow them to maximize credential value – while minimizing costs. In exploring the report, all stakeholders can learn more about the State’s various postsecondary pathways and one-, five-, and ten-year wage outcomes for the average graduate. It also includes important information to help you understand the costs of college, the scope of financial aid, and average student debt.

Read more from the Department of Higher Education and check out this dashboard to see outcomes for different types of degrees.

A great start for understanding the options that today’s learners have to pursue in different fields.

Understanding that the average learner often goes between work and school, Colorado Succeeds helped support a bill in 2022 to create more seamless ways for them to get credit for past credentials and work experience through “stackable pathways.” This month, the Colorado Department of Higher Education released its first report in response to that bill. It focuses on outlining specific pathways and best practices to stack pathways in three high-needs areas: behavioral health, cyber-security, and education. It also includes a new, precise definition and framework for what makes a quality non-degree credential.

Read the full report via the Department of Higher Education.

The same legislation also allocated funding to support students pursuing short-term credentials. More than a thousand students received financial support, and about half completed a credential in just a year. Details about the outcomes of this program are available here.

A credential is a degree or certificate awarded by an institution of higher education or some other verification of an individual’s qualification or competence issued by a third party. It encompasses educational certificates, degrees, certifications, and government-issued licenses.

If you’re looking for a roadmap for how we can make high school more relevant and responsive to students and our economy, start here!

In 2022, Colorado Succeeds was proud to partner with the legislature and supporting partners to support a bill that created a task force charged with making recommendations for simplifying and expanding access to Colorado’s complex ecosystem of programs designed to help students access career-connected learning, college coursework, and industry credentials in high school. In December, the Colorado Department of Education published the Secondary, Postsecondary, and Work-Based Learning Integration Task Force (also known as the ‘1215 Task Force’) final report. The report outlines critical issues our state must address to ensure all Colorado learners are set on a path to postsecondary and economic success.

Read reflections on the report from Colorado Succeeds and partners, and view the full report via the Department of Education.

Colorado Succeeds looks forward to our ongoing work with partners across the state to ensure these recommendations are implemented, either through state policy or local action.

This report helps the business community understand the progress Colorado has made to help make data more transparent for learners and leaders and the opportunities we have going forward.

As business knows, what gets measured gets done. That’s why in 2022, Colorado Succeeds supported legislation to create new measures to understand the impact of postsecondary education and to make recommendations for creating a state-wide data infrastructure to help report on that and other measures. In response to this legislation, the Department of Higher Education, recently published a report that looks at the benefits, opportunities, and barriers to longitudinal data for our state’s learners. It outlines the work the Department has done the last year, looks at specific areas where the State would benefit from more information, and outlines the next steps to improving our data systems.

More from the Department of Higher Education.