(April 19) – The House approved two core components of the House Democrats’ jobs and economic development package today with final passage of bills to create an “economic gardening” pilot program and to get unemployed or underemployed people back earning a paycheck.

HB13-1003, sponsored by Reps. Pete Lee (D-Colorado Springs) and Leroy Garcia (D-Pueblo), will provide management and technical training and consultation to “second stage” Colorado businesses – those 9- to 99-employee concerns that have significant growth potential.

“This bill provides high-level, sophisticated, corporate-level tools that are typically only available to Fortune 500 companies,” Rep. Lee said.

Also approved today was HB13-1004, sponsored by Reps. Crisanta Duran (D-Denver) and Jovan Melton (D-Aurora). It will create a transitional jobs program for unemployed and underemployed adults.

“This revives the Hire Colorado program, which had a 75 percent success rate in finding permanent, unsubsidized employment,” Rep. Melton told the House today. The federally funded Hire Colorado program was in effect in 2009 and 2010.

By offering local governments, nonprofit agencies and for-profit employers support for making hires for up to 30 weeks under the program, the bill will prepare the unemployed for full-time, permanent jobs and save the state the cost of keeping them on the unemployment rolls.

“We talk about the need for economic recovery, we talk about the need for jobs, we talk about the need to give people tools to succeed,” Rep. Duran told the chamber. “This is a great way to accomplish those goals.”

Both bills advanced to the Senate on 36-27 party-line votes.

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