A Quick Summary…

In 2018, Colorado Succeeds and the Common Sense Institute, in partnership with the Denver Business Journal and 18 industry partners, joined forces to inform Colorado voters and candidates on how education profoundly impacts the state and the need to center Colorado’s education system in the 2018 gubernatorial race.

As part of this initiative, the coalition commissioned a report that used economic modeling to answer the question: “What if Colorado schools were number one in the nation and what effect would that have on our state”? The report quantified the economic benefits of educational attainment/closing the skills gap and the impacts were staggering.

of employers said they struggle to find Coloradans with the right skills

of Coloradans believed high schools were not preparing students for the workforce or postsecondary education

If Colorado schools were #1, within 10 years* we would see…..

With this and other data at hand, the coalition made formal recommendations to Colorado’s next governor to transform the state’s education system.

What if our learners were better prepared for Colorado’s jobs?

The Problem We Were Seeing:

More than three-quarters of all jobs in Colorado (including half of all science, technology, engineering, and math jobs) require some education or training beyond high school.

– 100 students who start high school,

– 82 will graduate, and just

– 24 will successfully earn some type of postsecondary degree or credential within four years.

At a national level, U.S. News ranks Colorado 45th in high school graduation rate (down from 29th a decade ago) and 20th in college readiness. The system also reflects gross inequities. In some grades and subjects, economically disadvantaged and minority students are three grade levels behind their peers.

This talent gap between available jobs and student readiness reveals the education system’s failure to modernize to keep pace with economic changes.

As the 2018 gubernatorial race took off, Colorado Succeeds seized the opportunity to raise awareness among constituents and elected officials.

What if Colorado employers no longer had to import talent from elsewhere?

What Colorado Succeeds Did About It:

said business should play a greater role in efforts to improve the state’s education system.*

believe our high schools are not preparing students for the workforce or postsecondary education.

What if more graduates continued their education beyond high school?

What Happened?

The results of the report were clear: Investing in Colorado’s future workforce would have an astounding impact on the state’s economy.

If Colorado students obtained the level of education needed to compete in today’s economy,


Colorado would gain

with post-secondary education levels needed for Colorado’s jobs

These graduates would earn


in new revenue and public savings

increase in auto spending

increase in home spending


Presented By

Colorado Succeeds
Common Sense Institute

Supported By

Associated General Contractors
Colorado Association of Realtors
Colorado Bankers Association
Colorado Bioscience Association
Colorado Concern
Colorado Technology Association
Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce
Denver South Economic Development Partnership
Jefferson County Education Development Corporation
South Metro Denver Chamber

In Partnership With

Action 22
Arvada Chamber of Commerce
Colorado Business Roundtable
Quarterly Forum
Pro 15 Northeast Colorado
Greeley Area Chamber of Commerce
Club 20
Denver Metro Commercial Association of Realtors

Official Media Partner

Denver Business Journal

This case study only features candidates representing Colorado’s Democratic and Republican parties. As a nonprofit, nonpartisan network of business leaders, Colorado Succeeds and its partners in this effort do not endorse or oppose candidates.

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