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May 16, 2023

New Laws Strengthen Colorado’s Workforce, Create Stronger Pathways for In-Demand Industries

CENTENNIAL, CO – Governor Jared Polis today signed two bills into law that will strengthen Colorado’s workforce. HB23-1212 improves access to apprenticeships for graduating high schoolers. HB23-1074 identifies strategies to better prepare Colorado workers for industry changes resulting from technology advances and automation.

“We’re taking the necessary steps to boost our workforce by connecting graduating high school students to high-demand careers through apprenticeship programs,” said Rep. Eliza Hamrick, D-Centennial, sponsor of HB23-1212. “This law makes it easier for Coloradans to search, apply and participate in apprenticeship programs that will lead to good-paying careers. This law is a win-win for aspiring professionals and critical industries in need of skilled, qualified workers.”

“Apprenticeship programs can jumpstart a student’s future toward a good-paying career,” said Rep. Sheila Lieder, D-Littleton, sponsor of HB23-1212. “Our law saves graduates money on educational training and builds stronger pathways toward high-demand industries. Across Colorado there are many industries searching for skilled workers, and our law helps fill workforce demands and strengthen our economy.” 

HB23-1212 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. HB23-1212 also requires the creation of an online job board for students, and the incorporation of apprenticeship opportunities in available career planning tools, including individual career and academic plans to better support job preparation for students. 

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.

“As our economy and workforce demands shift, we’re preparing now to ensure Colorado workers are not left behind,” said Rep. Ruby Dickson, D-Centennial, sponsor of HB23-1074. “This law will identify opportunities for workers to use the skills they already have while transitioning to a more forward-looking economy. We cannot control how innovation and automation will change the labor market, but we can ease the workforce transition so more Coloradans can continue to work and thrive in their own communities.”

“Our law creates and preserves jobs for workers in Colorado’s oil and gas industry and other skilled industries as we anticipate future workforce changes,” said Rep. Judy Amabile, D-Boulder, sponsor of HB23-1074. “This workforce study will identify strategies to help workers enter new, up-and-coming career paths as technology-dependent industries adapt and grow with automation. We’re committed to help Coloradans prepare for the career of the future, and this law sets us on a pathway forward.” 

HB23-1074 creates a workforce study to help better prepare Coloradans for high-demand careers. Through this workforce study, The Office of Future Work (OFW) will partner with research institutions, employers and other stakeholders to explore industry transitions in oil and gas and in industries experiencing disruption due to automation. This law works to ease workforce transitions, identify appropriate interventions and define strategies to help Coloradans prepare and train for careers of the future.

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