Legislation would provide opportunities for concurrent enrollment and apprenticeships that lead to college credit towards degrees & credentials for future educators

DENVER, CO– Bipartisan legislation to grow the educator workforce today passed the House Committee on Education 10-3. HB20-1015, sponsored by Representatives Bri Buentello (D-Pueblo) and Jim Wilson (R-Salida), the bill would create a grant program for local education providers to help them establish concurrent enrollment and apprenticeship programs that will help provide credentials for future educators.

“Our state is facing a far-reaching and devastating teacher shortage, especially in rural areas, that is leading to severe consequences for students, teachers and school districts,” said Rep. Buentello (D-Pueblo). “We need more quality teachers in our classrooms, and this bill will make it a lot easier for students to get into teaching and complete the degree or certificate programs they need to teach (and stay) in Colorado.”

HB20-1015 would create the future educator pathways grant program in the Colorado Department of Education. The program would provide grants to local education providers, such as school districts, to help prepare future educators. The grants would go towards providing students with opportunities for concurrent enrollment and apprenticeships that lead to college credit towards education degrees or certificates. Local education providers must agree to match the state grant money with local resources equal to 25 percent of the grant.

The bill would help rural areas of the state that are facing a teacher shortage by increasing the pipeline of new teachers in the state. At least 35 percent of the total grant awards must go to rural local education providers, and grant recipients must demonstrate how they will ensure participants represent the racial and ethnic diversity of a local community. The bill aims to reverse a years-long trend of lower and lower enrollment and completion rates in Colorado educator preparation programs. Under the bill, the Education Department will report each year on the number of students who are advancing towards educator degrees and certificates, among other information.

Additional information on the educator shortage in Colorado can be found here.

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