Polis Signs $75M for Workforce Training and Bill to Create State Apprenticeship Agency

DENVER, CO-– Governor Polis today signed two bills that will invest $75 million to boost Colorado’s workforce training programs and expand access to quality apprenticeship pathways.

The lack of qualified talent in Colorado has been one of the primary barriers to business growth. HB21-1264, sponsored by Representatives Sullivan and Young, invests $75 million to provide Coloradans with reskilling, upskilling, and next-skilling opportunities that lead to industry-recognized credentials and employment opportunities in growing industries that are looking to hire. The money will go to the Colorado Workforce Development Council and the Departments of Education and Higher Education to invest in this new innovative program as well as enhance Colorado’s adult education and career and technical education programs. The funds will help thousands of Coloradans complete high quality job and career training programs to help them achieve economic self-sufficiency and rebuild our economy. 

“Colorado businesses are looking to hire skilled workers so they can grow and meet demand for their goods and services,” said Rep. Mary Young, D-Greeley, sponsor of HB21-1264 “This new law will create expanded opportunities for workers to upskill, reskill or next skill so they can fill good jobs and power the Colorado Comeback.”

“The bills Governor Polis signed today are going to provide more workers in Colorado the tools and skills to fill good jobs and build careers in thriving and growing industries,” said Rep. Tom Sullivan, D- Centennial, sponsor of HB21-1264 and HB21-1007.  “We’re putting $75 million toward expanding access to workforce centers and nonprofits across Colorado that provide critical job-training, and we’re creating a Colorado Apprenticeship Agency to improve, oversee, coordinate and expand access to apprenticeship programs that can jump-start careers.” 

“Apprenticeship programs are a proven pathway for workers and students to learn the skills they’ll need to work in growing industries,” said Rep. David Ortiz, D-Littleton. “I’m excited the governor signed legislation today to create a state apprenticeship agency in Colorado that will ensure workers and students can access quality programs that are designed to provide the skills and tools apprentices need to excel in their careers.” 

HB21-1007, sponsored by Representatives Tom Sullivan and David Ortiz, establishes a state apprenticeship agency. The agency will collaborate with the US Department of Labor to register and oversee apprenticeship programs at the state level, determine standards for apprenticeship programs, and ensure these standards are being met. It will work to promote apprenticeship programs so that more Coloradans can access these critical training opportunities, which to-date have jump-started the careers of nearly 2 million Americans in the last decade.

Because Colorado does not have a state apprenticeship agency, apprenticeship programs are currently registered with the US Department of Labor. This new state agency will work with businesses and organizations offering apprenticeship programs to provide technical assistance to help them create and meet standards and provide more flexibility to ensure apprentices are learning the skills they need to advance in their trade. Twenty-five other states have state apprenticeship councils.  

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