(July 1) – Two components of the House Democrats’ jobs and economic development package went into effect today, the first day of the state fiscal year.

HB13-1004, sponsored by Reps. Crisanta Duran (D-Denver) and Jovan Melton (D-Aurora), creates a “career pathways program” in the Department of Human Services to provide grants for individuals to obtain skills needed for employment.

It’s anticipated that the state will spend far less to retrain an unemployed worker and get him or her back on a payroll than to keep shelling out unemployment checks.

The new law expands a workforce training law authored by Rep. Duran last year. During testimony on the bill she said 900 Coloradans had enrolled in programs authorized by the 2012 law, and said she expected the new bill to greatly increase that number.

“I’m excited about the impact this bill will have in connecting more Coloradans to good jobs,” Rep. Duran said.

Also going into effect today is SB13-157, sponsored in the House by Reps. Tony Exum (D-Colorado Springs) and Tracy Kraft-Tharp (D-Arvada). It extends the Colorado Work Share Program, giving employers the option to reduce the work hours of a group of employees as an alternative to laying off some members of the group. Employees who work reduced hours under the program qualify for a prorated share of unemployment benefits.

“We are still recovering from the Great Recession and need to ensure that employers have options like this to keep the state’s economy moving forward,” Rep. Exum said.

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