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March 21, 2024

Bills to Support Strong Career Pathways and K-12 Schools Sail Through Committee

DENVER, CO - The House Education Committee today passed two bills to support postsecondary education pathways and K-12 school staff. HB24-1364, sponsored by Speaker Julie McCluskie and Assistant Majority Leader Jennifer Bacon, would streamline career pathways for high school graduates. HB24-1264, sponsored by Representative Barbara McLachlan, would help school districts find more special services staff, such as nurses and social workers. 

“We’re working to establish strong career pathways that will not only meet our workforce needs but make it easier for Coloradans to secure good-paying jobs in the communities that they love,” said Speaker Julie McCluskie, D-Dillon. “This important legislation lays the groundwork for improving access to existing programs that offer college credits, industry credentials, or quality work-based learning experiences. When it comes to selecting a career, we’re making it easier for Colorado learners to receive the training they need to not just get by, but thrive in a good-paying job.” 

“Our state has many college credit, apprenticeship and other work-based learning programs already in place–this legislation makes it easier for Colorado learners to browse and access these programs,” said Assistant Majority Leader Jennifer Bacon, D-Denver. “To meet our state’s workforce and education demands, we need to make it easier for our learners to plan and succeed. This bill directs our learners toward solid, good-paying career pathways by streamlining postsecondary education options. Together, we’re investing in our workforce, boosting local economies, and making it easier for our learners to find and succeed in a career that has significant growth and earning potential.”

HB24-1364, passed committee unanimously.  This bill implements recommendations from the 1215 Task Force to help meet workforce demands and foster work pathways for Coloradans. HB24-1364 would create a detailed study to uncover the cost benefits of streamlining the administration and financing of postsecondary workforce readiness programs to state and local education providers. 

This bill would also lay the foundation of a data system to measure the impact and outcomes of education and workforce programs. The data collected by this program would be more accessible to learners, families, and other decision-makers when it comes to choosing a career pathway.

“Removing barriers to entering the education profession is important to meet the needs of our school districts and more importantly – our students,” said Rep. Barbara McLachlan, D-Durango. “This bipartisan bill would extend educator grant programs to special service providers, such as school nurses, occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, social workers, and even teacher apprentices. Our schools rely on talented, dedicated professionals to meet the needs of our students and this bill helps meet school workforce needs to help every student achieve and receive the support they need.” 

HB24-1264, also sponsored by Representative Marc Caitlin, R-Montrose, passed unanimously. This bill aims to reduce barriers to entering the educator workforce by expanding eligibility for grants from the Educator Recruitment and Retention program to include special services providers and teacher apprentices.

This bill also creates an online career portal for educators and local education providers to connect them to resources. The portal would be administered by the Colorado Department of Education and would provide access to loan forgiveness, stipends, career incentive programs, career pathway resources and open job postings.

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