House Committee Approves Two Bills to Ensure More Technical Training and Concurrent Enrollment Opportunities

Roughly three quarters of all CO jobs require post secondary higher education

(Apr. 23) – The House Education committee approved two bills today that will create more apprenticeships and vocation technical training in high school as well as expand concurrent enrollment opportunities.

“There are currently nearly 200 sponsored apprenticeship programs, and that number is constantly evolving and growing,” said Rep. Sullivan. “This directory can serve as a beneficial tool to help students and young adults grow in their technical training and enter into career fields that offer salaries without the debt of traditional college.”

SB19-171, sponsored by Rep. Tom Sullivan, D-Centennial, and Rep. Rochelle Galindo, D-Greeley, establishes a directory of apprenticeship programs within the Department of Labor that would include salary ranges, critical labor force data, licensure requirements, and other information potential enrollees should know before embarking onto a career pathway. The bill also requires the department to distribute the directory to a coordinate coordinate  with local workforce centers, businesses, and education institutions to raise awareness of the apprenticeship programs so more Coloradans can access them.

“This directory will expand opportunity and accessibility for these apprenticeship programs. When I visited various locations that offered these programs, the directors often said the only way they get word out about these programs is through word-of–mouth,” said Rep. Galindo. “This is such an amazing opportunity for newcomers to join the industry, close the gap and ensure more people are learning about these programs.

In 2018, it was estimated that building trades had a shortage of 60,000 workers in Colorado. The state’s construction industry alone will need at least 30,000 new workers to meet demand in the years ahead.

SB19-171 passed with a bipartisan vote of 10-3. It now heads to the House Appropriations committee.

The House Education committee also approved SB19-176, a bipartisan bill sponsored by Rep. Julie McCluskie, D-Dillon, that would expand opportunities for students to earn postsecondary course credit while enrolled in high school.

“Now more than ever, we need to create college going culture in our schools, and concurrent enrollment helps us do just that,” said Rep. McCluskie. “This bill ensures that Colorado students pursuing concurrent enrollment opportunities will receive credit towards their high school graduation requirements and a higher degree or certification.  With this bill, we are expanding opportunities for our kids.”

The bill also creates a grant program that provides dollars to assist teachers in obtaining a graduate degree that allows them to teach concurrent enrollment. It also helps cover the cost of books, supplies, fees and transportation, and new technology upgrades for students pursuing concurrent enrollment opportunities. This is aimed at providing services and support for districts and low-income, first–generation kids that will gain access to these classes.

SB19-176 passed with unanimous support and now heads to the House Appropriations committee.

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