Colorado Public Health Career Pathways Launched

Monday, February 22, 2021

Pathways aim to address need for expanded public health workforce, connecting through statewide online platform

DENVER - The Colorado Workforce Development Council (CWDC), in partnership with the Trailhead Institute and the Colorado Public Health Workforce Collaborative, has launched newly-developed career pathways in public health on the My Colorado Journey platform. 

The Colorado public health career pathways can be a model for other states looking to move this critical work forward. The pathways aim to address the demand for a skilled public health workforce heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic, strengthen continued career development, as well as raise awareness of the field. 

”A great public health workforce is needed to ensure the health and safety of Coloradans now and post-pandemic,” said Governor Jared Polis. “The public health career pathways will help people get jobs and explore opportunities  in the public health field for Coloradans.”

Three pathways within the public health field were developed -- public health, environmental health, and administration -- and together they encompass more than 100 occupations within the field including entry- to advanced-level positions. Individuals can learn more about the industry as a whole and view role descriptions; salary information; and knowledge, skill, and ability requirements for each occupation. Pathways will be updated quarterly in My Colorado Journey, a no-cost career and academic exploration platform for job seekers, workers, and students. 

“For decades, the governmental public health system has been stretched and operating in the background, promoting health and wellness and protecting the environment. When COVID-19 arrived, we had to scale up quickly to respond effectively, and could have benefited from a larger workforce of people formally trained in public health. The pandemic has shown us why it’s so important to be intentional about growing a talented workforce to prepare for the next emergency,” said Jill Hunsaker Ryan, executive director, CDPHE. “The pathways initiative will train more people in jobs that truly make a difference.”

In the National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness plan, the Biden-Harris Administration calls for the Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Labor to explore mechanisms to create and connect a newly expanded containment workforce to “career ladder” programs to encourage retention and advancement within the field of public health post-pandemic. Colorado’s public health career pathways can serve as a model for other states working to address this call to action. 

As with previous pathways the State of Colorado and partners have developed, the process was industry-led and leveraged Colorado’s collaborative approach, bringing together representatives from industry, education, and workforce from across the state. Building on Colorado’s work in 2020 to train new healthcare apprentices to support efforts to contain COVID-19’s spread, the pathways will strengthen the continued exploration of career opportunities in public health.

For more information on My Colorado Journey and to explore the public health career pathways, please visit