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December 19, 2023

Laws to Create Jobs and Support Colorado Workers Go Into Effect

DENVER, CO - New laws to create jobs and support Colorado workers will go into effect on January 1, 2024.

HB23-1212, sponsored by Senators Chris Kolker, D-Centennial, and Jessie Danielson, D-Wheat Ridge, and Representatives Eliza Hamrick, D-Centennial, and Sheila Lieder, D-Littleton, directs the Office of the Future of Work, the Colorado Department Education and other state agencies to collaborate with schools and trade industries to create apprenticeship pathways for graduating students. The law also requires the creation of an online job board for students, and the incorporation of registered apprenticeship programs into the State’s available career planning tools, including the development of individual career and academic plans by apprenticeship navigators to better support job preparation and awareness for students.

“A four year college degree doesn’t make sense for everyone,” said Kolker. “Alternative pathways like apprenticeships can lead to high paying careers and bright futures. I look forward to seeing the Office of the Future of Work and the Department of Education work together to expand apprenticeship opportunities and help bolster Colorado’s workforce.”

“This law works to connect graduating high school students with apprenticeships in high-demand industries, including construction and other skilled trades,” said Rep. Eliza Hamrick, D-Centennial, sponsor of HB23-1212. “We’re making it easier for students to find, apply and get accepted to apprenticeship programs in high-demand fields and graduate with a clear pathway toward a good-paying career.”

“Colorado is facing a crippling workforce shortage that is hurting our families and our economy,” Danielson said. “Apprenticeships offer incredible opportunities to people looking to gain hands-on experience and enter our workforce. This new law helps expand pathways to apprenticeships and get more Coloradans on track for a successful future.”

“Apprenticeship programs give Coloradans the tools they need to get started and save money on their pursuit of a good-paying career,” said Rep. Sheila Lieder, D-Littleton, sponsor of HB23-1212. “This law will make apprenticeship programs in the trades more accessible to high school students, help fill critical jobs and boost Colorado’s economy.”

Colorado’s trade and construction industries are still experiencing workforce shortages following economic disruptions from the pandemic. This law helps create a talent pipeline for graduating students to enter good-paying careers after graduation and support Colorado’s workforce.

Sponsored by Senator Nick Hinrichsen, D-Pueblo, and Representatives William Lindstedt, D-Broomfield and Rick Taggart, R-Grand Junction, HB23-1081 expands the Employee Ownership Tax Credit to strengthen incentives for businesses transitioning to an employee-owned business model.

“Employee-owned businesses give hard-working Coloradans a real stake in their work,” said Hinrichsen. “With this law, we’re expanding incentives to help cover the costs associated with transitioning to an employee-owned model. These win-win opportunities help businesses remain in their communities while giving employees a seat at the table when it comes to decision-making about their careers.” 

“Expanding the employee ownership tax credit in Colorado means local businesses can continue to boost wages and benefits, improve retention and develop strong succession plans,” said Rep. William Lindstedt, D-Broomfield, sponsor of HB23-1081. “This law encourages employee-owned business models, which means our local businesses are more likely to stay locally owned and operated for years to come. Small businesses are a huge part of our statewide economy, and this law makes it easier for business owners to sell or retire while giving employees more opportunities to own the business they work for.”

HB23-1081 expands on the Employee Ownership Tax Credit by:

  • Making partially employee-owned businesses eligible to help cover the costs associated with expanding employee ownership;

  • Expanding eligible methods that businesses may use to transfer equity to employees;

  • Strengthening incentives for eligible businesses that are transitioning to employee ownership with existing resources.

Finally, SB23-292, sponsored by Senate President Steve Fenberg, D-Boulder, Senator Chris Hansen, D-Denver, and House Majority Leader Monica Duran, D-Wheat Ridge, and Representative Shannon Bird, D-Westminster, creates clear and fair working standards for the energy industry to support workers transitioning into the clean energy sector.

“Colorado is committed to a clean energy future and a competitive economy that uplifts all workers,” said Fenberg. “More and more clean energy development projects are receiving state funds, which is why we took action to ensure those projects are supported by truly good paying jobs with great benefits. With this important law, we’re upholding our commitments and making sure no worker gets left behind.”

“As Colorado gears up for more construction of clean energy projects, we need to ensure our highly-skilled workers are compensated fairly and protected while on the job,” said Majority Leader Monica Duran, D-Wheat Ridge, sponsor of SB23-292. “Our law ensures workers, including electricians, plumbers, and those essential to completing a large-scale clean energy project are paid a fair wage for their work. This law is an important step forward in our ongoing efforts to create safer working conditions and ensure liveable wages for Coloradans.”  

“Colorado’s clean energy future ultimately depends on high quality, well-paid jobs,” Hansen said. “This new law ensures that as the clean energy sector continues to grow, workers’ rights grow too. When workers win, so does Colorado’s infrastructure and economy, and I’m proud to have championed this new law that helps move Colorado forward.”

“Establishing high labor standards for clean energy projects ensures our highly-skilled workers are paid fairly and are protected while on the job,” said Rep. Shannon Bird, D-Westminster, sponsor of SB23-292. “Our law going into effect establishes fair wages and safety initiatives  for construction jobs in Colorado’s energy sector. Colorado  is preparing for some of the most innovative, clean energy projects in the county and this law protects workers and strengthens our construction-based economy.”  

The law creates a new category of public projects called Energy Sector Public Works Projects to the 2019 State Prevailing Wage Law. These Energy Sector Public Works Projects must comply with current apprenticeship and prevailing wage requirements to be eligible for state funding or approved by the Public Utilities Commission.

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