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June 5, 2024

ICYMI: Gov Signs Bill to Boost Colorado’s Workforce

DENVER, CO - Governor Jared Polis yesterday signed legislation to strengthen our workforce and reduce recidivism by ensuring Coloradans involved with the justice system can re-enter the workforce, acquire professional credentials, support their families, and succeed in their careers.

“This legislation is crucial in bridging the gap between workforce shortages and Coloradans involved with the justice system who are trying to break their way out of cycles of incarceration,” said Rep. Jennifer Bacon, D-Denver. “Current Colorado law makes it difficult for Coloradans with criminal records to qualify for certain careers, reducing their ability to find a good-paying job. With this legislation, we’re streamlining the process for Coloradans to make it easier for them to successfully re-enter our communities and to reduce recidivism.”

“Coloradans who have a criminal record face significant barriers to entry when looking for jobs, which makes it harder to break the cycle of incarceration and rebuild their lives,” Senate President Pro Tempore James Coleman, D-Denver, said. “This new law aims to break down those barriers and make it easier for formerly incarcerated Coloradans to re-enter their communities and find a good-paying job that supports them and their families.”

“We’re committed to addressing workforce shortages in critical industries, which is why we passed this legislation to make it easier for people who have been involved with the justice system to qualify for careers in sectors that are crucial for our economy,” said Rep. Shannon Bird, D-Westminster. “We’re committed to keeping Coloradans safe, and this law helps more people enter the workforce while prioritizing public safety. With this legislation, previously incarcerated Coloradans will have an easier path to success and industries will have more qualified candidates to choose from to fill job vacancies.”

HB24-1004 establishes a uniform process for considering criminal records in occupational registration, certification, and licensure applications. The law includes a wide range of careers, from the construction and banking industries to IT. It prohibits regulators from automatically refusing to grant or renew a license based on an applicant’s criminal record unless the applicant’s conviction is directly related to a specific element of the occupation and is still relevant at the time of an individual’s application.

Representatives Bacon and Bird and Senator Coleman passed a 2022 law to ensure that when pursuing a credential, applicants were only denied based on their criminal history if that history would hinder their ability to do their job safely and competently.

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