DENVER, CO – Two bills to support Colorado workers today passed the House. HB23-1094, sponsored by Representatives Meghan Lukens and Marc Catlin, would boost the agriculture workforce, and HB23-1074, sponsored by Representatives Ruby Dickson and Judy Amabile, would identify strategies to better prepare Colorado workers for industry changes resulting from technology advances and automation.
“This bill works to train, educate and uplift the next generation of agricultural workers through hands-on internships and training,” said Rep. Meghan Lukens, D-Steamboat Springs, sponsor of HB23-1094. “This bipartisan legislation creates a pipeline for careers in the agricultural businesses while helping our farmers and ranchers fill open positions. Colorado’s agriculture industry creates $47 billion dollars in economic activity every year and our legislation supports our farmers and ranchers by creating new pathways for Coloradans interested in a career in agriculture.”
HB23-1094, which passed the House by a vote of 56 to 4, would modify the Agricultural Workforce Development Program which provides financial incentives to farmers, ranchers and agricultural businesses to hire interns and provide them with hands-on training and the experience needed to pursue a career in agriculture. This bill aims to jumpstart a lifelong career in agriculture and deepen the workforce pool by increasing the duration of paid internships to up to one year instead of six months.
“As our economy changes, we must do everything we can to ensure workers aren’t left behind,” said Rep. Ruby Dickson, D-Centennial, sponsor of HB23-1074. “We can’t control how innovation and automation will affect the labor market, but we can anticipate these changes – and find new strategies to support impacted workers. This bill will identify opportunities for workers to use the skills they already have while transitioning to a more forward-looking economy so that Coloradans can continue to work and thrive in their own communities.”
“This bill will help create and preserve jobs for workers in Colorado’s oil and gas industry and other skilled industries as we prepare for the impacts of new technologies,” said Rep. Judy Amabile, D-Boulder, sponsor of HB23-1074. “Our bill creates a workforce study, through the Office of Future Work, to identify strategies to help workers enter new, up-and-coming career paths as technology-dependent industries adapt and grow with automation and other efficiencies coming online in the future.”
HB23-1074, which passed the House by a vote of 41 to 18, would create a workforce study to help better prepare Coloradans for high-demand careers. Through this workforce study, The Office of Future Work (OFW) would 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 bill works to ease workforce transitions, identify appropriate interventions and define strategies to help Coloradans prepare and train for careers of the future.