Continuing to Bring Good-Paying Jobs to Coloradans & Build the Workforce for the Future, Gov. Polis Signs Executive Order Expanding Apprenticeship Opportunities for the State Workforce and Colorado Employers

Thursday, June 16, 2022

LAKEWOOD - Today, Gov. Jared Polis signed an Executive Order to expand registered apprenticeship programs for Colorado’s efficient and high-achieving state workforce, continuing to bring good-paying jobs to Coloradans, provide Coloradans with opportunities to advance in their careers, and ensuring state agencies can continue to hire, train, and retain a qualified and high-performing workforce. 

“Apprenticeships are a great way for businesses to develop the workforce they need, help get Colorado workers into good-paying jobs, and give workers the opportunity to earn money while they learn and advance in their careers,” said Gov. Polis. “Here in Colorado we pride ourselves on being at the forefront of innovation, and I am proud that today we are taking another bold step towards fulfilling the promise of a Colorado for All with these great opportunities for Coloradans to succeed and thrive. ”

The Governor’s action directs the Departments of Labor & Employment (CDLE) and Personnel & Administration (DPA) to develop statewide guidance and strategies to expand the number of registered apprenticeship programs offered by state agencies by 20 percent by the end of Fiscal Year 2022-23. The goal is to expand apprenticeship opportunities for Coloradans of all ages, abilities, and industries.

“Apprenticeship programs create possibilities to bring a new generation of talented candidates into our workforce and serve as an invaluable learning tool for so many current state employees,” said Tony Gherardini, State Personnel Director and Executive Director of the Department of Personnel & Administration. “Colorado currently has apprenticeship programs in six state agencies, with more than 5,000 participants. If we can grow these numbers, we can create more opportunities for Coloradans from all backgrounds to find economic success.”

The Executive Order directs CDLE and DPA to review the state’s job classification system to include an apprentice classification for in-demand occupations; coordinate with related instruction providers, such as institutions of higher education, to enhance registered apprenticeship programs and occupational skill-building; provide training and resources for agencies to evaluate how registered apprenticeship programs could address talent development goals; and coordinate resources to support job seekers and employer-led diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies.

This Executive Order encourages private employers to follow the state’s lead by pursuing grants and stimulus funding made available by legislation to build new or expand current apprenticeship programs of their own. There are also incentives for private employers who compose their workforce with five percent or more of individuals participating in apprenticeship programs. 

“There is not a single path to upward mobility and economic success.  In the midst of the most fundamental transformation in the way we work of our lifetimes, we must be willing to provide more flexibility and choice as well as more opportunities for our workforce to pursue options that link work and learning,” said Peter D. Banko, President & CEO at Centura Health.  “Our apprenticeship programs – and expanding partnerships with the State – allow neighbors to become caregivers, following their passion, interests, and talents while earning a living and growing their skills and competencies.”

Prior to signing the Executive Order at St. Anthony Hospital in Lakewood, a Centura Health facility, Governor Polis spoke with current and past apprenticeships to learn about their transformative experiences. Here’s what they have to say about their experiences: 

“I needed to change my career at the age of 44 and I knew healthcare was where I wanted to be. This program allowed me to be able to afford to go back to school and make a living doing it. After a year in this program, I am the happiest and most content I have ever been. I feel this is the future I needed and wanted. Now I have it,” said Mary "Katy" Sampson, Certified Sterile Processing Tech at St. Anthony Hospital and Summer 2021 Sterile Processing Apprentice.

“I traveled all the way from Northern Alabama to be part of this program. I feel blessed to be included in this education and hands-on program. My time here has been nothing short of amazing,” said Tae Haygood-Cable, Current Sterile Processing Apprentice at St. Anthony Hospital.

“I am new to Colorado and I was able to land this great opportunity to get an education and start a career in healthcare. It is also convenient to learn online and have on the job training at the same time. I work with a great team and am learning so much,” Steven Weber, Current Sterile Processing Apprentice at St. Anthony Hospital.

“The MA Apprenticeship program gave me a purpose, career and a home away from home. I was very blessed to learn in a clinic, work while attending school and then be offered a career in my dream job. I have met lifelong friends and coworkers that I would consider family now and I couldn't imagine myself in a different position. I would recommend the program to anyone who wants to start a career in healthcare,” said Harleigh Burch – Medical Assistant II at Integrated OBGYN, and Spring 2021 MA Apprentice at Southlands Primary Care.

“However coveted, second chances don’t come around often; I am eternally grateful for the second chance the Centura Health Apprenticeship Program gave me. Because of the educational opportunity, coupled with the ability to “earn while I learn” and receive tuition assistance, I was given the opportunity to become the person I had always dreamed of being,” Danielle Whelchel, Medical Assistant Apprentice, Highlands Ranch Medical Associates, January 2022 Apprentice.