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February 28, 2023

House Passes Bill to Boost Workforce, Prioritize Apprenticeships

DENVER, CO – The House today passed a bill to support Colorado’s workforce. SB23-051, sponsored by Representatives David Ortiz and Meghan Lukens, solidifies the role of Colorado’s Office of Future Work which oversees a statewide apprenticeship program, helps communities transition into emerging industries and creates talent pipelines for careers of the future.

“Through apprenticeships, Coloradans receive hands-on experience that will help propel them into good paying careers,” said Rep. David Ortiz, D-Littleton. “This bill codifies the Office of Future Work so Coloradans can take advantage of training and apprenticeship programs that are geared toward new career opportunities. We’re working to build an equitable talent pipeline that gives Coloradans the tools they need to be successful in our state’s workforce for years to come.” 

“When it comes to learning on the job, many Coloradans jump into apprenticeship programs to gain real-world experience,” said Rep. Meghan Lukens, D-Steamboat Springs. “Adapting to our ever-changing economy is important and our bill makes it easier for Coloradans to learn, train and prepare for careers of the future. Through state run apprenticeship programs, Coloradans entering the workforce will have a leg up when it comes to finding a good paying job that may not revolve around a traditional higher education pathway.” 

SB23-051, which passed by a vote of 48 to 16, codifies the current duties of the Office of the Future of Work (OFW), which serves as a central point of contact for efforts to respond to the changing nature of work, and helps ensure Coloradans are equipped with the necessary education, training, skills and tools to fully participate in the labor force.

Additionally, the bill aligns state statute with federal requirements, allowing Colorado's State Apprenticeship Agency (SAA) to seek federal authorization from the Department of Labor to register and oversee state run apprenticeship programs.

The bill comes two years after HB21-1007, which established the SAA and also sponsored by Representative Ortiz, and four years after the OFW was established via executive order.

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