Colorado Economic Recovery and Accountability

Employment and Workforce Training



Extended Unemployment Benefits:

The federal government approved extensions of benefits prior to the passage of the Recovery Act, and then further extended them through the Recovery Act. This means that people who have been involuntarily laid off can receive up to 59 weeks of benefits, including the 26 weeks provided by state law. The Recovery Act extends benefits an additional 20 weeks (for a total of 79 weeks). As of March 31, 2010, more than 114,000 received additional benefits of more than $713 million through the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program.


The Colorado General Assembly also passed a law that allows the state to use Recovery Act funds for additional unemployment benefits. As of March 31, 2010, more than 23,000 people receiving extended benefits through the State Extended Benefits (SEB) program. The total benefit so far has been $73.9 million.

Increased Unemployment Benefits:

People receiving unemployment checks of any type are receiving $25 more a week, which adds up to an estimated $87 million in extra federal dollars through the Recovery Act. As of March 31, 2010,, more than 262,000 individuals have received the additional $25 amount for a total of more than $152 million in Federal Additional Compensation payments. Typically unemployment benefits are taxed as income, but under the bill, the first $2,400 of benefits is deductible or tax free.


Persons interested in filing an unemployment compensation claim or with general questions about unemployment insurance can contact: Denver Metro:  (303) 318-9000; Toll Free:  (800) 388-5515; Hearing Impaired (TTD) Denver Metro:  (303) 318-9016; Hearing Impaired (TTD) Toll Free: (800) 894-7730

Re-employment and Training:

Colorado will receive funds through several grants from the U.S. Department of Labor to provide job training, job placement and support services for workers who lose their jobs as well as those who are unemployed for other reasons. The programs will be administered through local workforce agencies, but will be coordinated and tracked through the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. These funds include:

  • $6.2 million to the state in formula grants through the Wagner-Peyser Act.
  • $4.8 million to the state in formula grants through the Workforce Investment Act for adult job training and support services.
  • $14.4 million to the state in formula grants through the Workforce Investment Act for adult dislocated workers.
  • Potential grants through a competitive program for High-growth industry training that was amount to $750 million nationwide.

For persons interested in receiving job training service, contact: (303) 318-8035

Youth training and support:

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment expects to receive funds through several grants to help train young people enter the workforce. They include:

  • $11.8 million to Colorado to help train young people, ages 15 to 24, to enter the workforce through paid summer jobs.
  • The potential for grants through a competitive program called YouthBuild, offering $50 million nationwide to help young people finish high school and learn housing construction job skills through work on low-income and affordable housing projects.
  • Formula funds through the Job Corps Program, offering $250 million nationwide, to support construction and modernization of residential facilities for at-risk youth. It is unclear how much Colorado will receive.

More than 3,500 young people were placed in summer jobs across Colorado. 

Contact: Gary Estenson,;  Kelly Brown,; 303-318-8035


Rural Nurses Training:
Otero Junior College and Trinidad State Junior College received a $5 million grant from the US Department of Labor to recruit and train about 700 nurses to serve in an 11-county region in southern Colorado. Contact: Denise Root, 719-384-6894,

Healthcare Information Technology Training:
The University of Colorado College of Nursing received a $2.6 million grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services to train healthcare professionals in information technology. This program will help the medical community more effectively use information technology. Contact: Caitlin Jenney, 303-315-6376,

Community Service jobs for seniors:

Colorado will receive $240,104 to help low-income seniors who are 55 years old or older and have poor employment prospects. The program pays minimum wage to seniors who are placed in community service jobs for up to 20 hours a week. There is a 10% percent match requirement. Services will be provided through the Senior Community Service Employment Program. There are 14 people working in this program in seven counties. Contact: Gary Estenson,; Kelly Brown,; 303-318-8035; Audrey Krebs, Colorado Department of Human Services, 303-866-2846,;


Employment support for people with disabilities:

The U.S. Department of Education is distributing funds for three programs that help disabled people gain employment and live independently. The money will be given to states according to a formula and will be handled by the Colorado Department of Human Services. All the funds must be obligated by Sept. 30, 2011. The programs include:

  • $7.3 million from the Rehabilitation Services Administration to help people with disabilities obtain jobs. There is no matching fund requirement.
  • $242,913 for independent living services, including peer support, advocacy and independent living skills training at the 10 Colorado Centers for Independent Living.
  • $497,578 for services for visually-impaired people that focus on helping these people live independently and stay active.
  • The federal government is distributing $87.5 million nationwide in competitive grants to non-profit organizations for independent living programs.

Contact: Nancy Smith, director, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, DHS, 303-866-4886;; Sandy Pratt, chief financial officer, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, DHS, 303-866-4990;

Unemployment Insurance Modernization Act:
The Recovery Act provides a series of funds to states for modernizing the unemployment insurance programs. The General Assembly passed SB 247, signed into law by Gov. Ritter in June 2009, that modifies Colorado’s unemployment insurance provisions to comply with federal guidelines, among other provisions. The law allows the state to qualify for up to $127 million for modernization of the unemployment benefits system. Contact: Gary Estenson,; Kelly Brown,; 303-318-8035

Workforce Investment Act Assistance National Emergency Grants:
The U.S. Department of Labor has designated $200 million nationally to make emergency grant awards for areas that experience mass layoffs, plant closings and other types of worker dislocations. The funds would be used for job training and placement services. These funds would be distributed at the discretion of the head of the federal agency. Contact: Gary Estenson,;
Kelly Brown,; 303-318-8035

High Demand and Green Jobs Grants:
The U.S. Department of Labor has designated $750 million across the country for competitive grants for worker training and placement in high-growth jobs. Within that fund, $500 million in competitive grants is dedicated to programs to prepare workers for jobs in renewable energy and energy efficiency as established in the Green Jobs Act of 2007. On June 24, 2009, the DOL issued a solicitation for grant applications for this program, detailing five different categories of grant funding. The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment submitted a statewide application in all five categories on Oct. 20, 2009. The priority for the rest of the funds will be to prepare workers for jobs in health care. . In January 2010, the US Department of Labor awarded Mi Casa Resource Center for Women Inc. a $3.6 million grant through the Pathways Out of Poverty program. This grant will provide green job training to 500 people. Contact: Gary Estenson,; Kelly Brown,; 303-318-8035