Preparing Coloradans for In-Demand Jobs: Gov. Polis Announces 43 Opportunity Now Colorado Grant Recipients

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Over $55 million to support the work of 190 businesses and 218 education partners in 17 industries, with nearly half of the funding supporting rural communities  

GOLDEN – Today at CoorsTek, Gov. Polis and the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) announced 43 recipients of the Opportunity Now Colorado grant program to support the creation and expansion of programs that prepare Coloradans for in-demand, high-wage jobs and careers. Collectively, the grant recipients are projected to train thousands of Coloradans in new skills and place more than 6,500 in new, good-paying jobs.

“Across the state, good-paying jobs are available now. These Opportunity Now grants will help over 15,000 Coloradans develop the skills and experience they need to start new careers that will support them and their families,” said Governor Polis. 

The Opportunity Now program funds regional partnerships between educational institutions, industry leaders, and employers focused on meeting the workforce needs of Colorado’s most in-demand industries. The top sectors served include healthcare, education and infrastructure and construction, all prioritized by HB22-1350, which established the program and was sponsored by House Speaker Julie McCluskie, Rep. Janice Rich, and Sens. Jeff Bridges and Paul Lundeen. The grant recipients announced today also focus on key advanced industries that support Colorado’s growing leadership in sectors such as quantum, semiconductors, clean tech and advanced manufacturing. 

Efforts like these are making a difference for workers in Colorado. The Lumina Foundation recently recognized the state as having the largest percentage of people with work-ready credentials. 

“Colorado’s efforts to train workers in in-demand skills are getting noticed. The recipients announced today will continue this important trend, emphasizing skills-based hiring and innovative training programs that connect more workers to good-paying jobs that support families while strengthening Colorado’s economy across the state,” said OEDIT Executive Director Eve Lieberman.

To support workforce development across the state, grant recipients are located in the communities they serve and 45% of funds will support rural Colorado. Collectively, grantees serve all 14 regions of Colorado, from the Central Plains and Southeast Colorado to Region 10 and the Northwest. 

“We are honored to receive this grant and thrilled to embark on a journey towards empowering Coloradans in the field of manufacturing. Through our dedication to advanced manufacturing skill development, we aim to pave the way for elevated career paths and foster wage improvement, ensuring a brighter future for individuals and communities across Colorado,” Michael Coors, CEO CoorsTek.

“I continue to be proud of Colorado’s nation-leading efforts to build strong talent pipelines toward meaningful careers, across the state and across Colorado’s diverse communities," said House Speaker Julie McCluskie. "Collectively, Opportunity Now Colorado grant recipients serve all 64 Colorado counties, and nearly half of the funding announced today will support rural communities. This statewide, regional innovation is a win for Colorado families and the continued strength of our economy.” 

“The Opportunity Now Colorado grants announced today are an investment in Colorado’s future and economic competitiveness. By helping Coloradans acquire the skills for in-demand jobs, these grantees will place more than 6,500 Coloradans in new jobs, address labor shortages, and boost important industries like education, healthcare, and infrastructure,” said State Senator Janice Rich.

“Opportunity is a core Colorado value, and every Coloradan should have the opportunity to earn a good life," said Senator Jeff Bridges, D-Arapahoe County. "That opportunity often starts with a good education, one that's aligned with good-paying jobs in a person's community. Making sure that what schools teach matches what businesses need is exactly what the Opportunity Now grant does, leading to better wages for workers, a well-trained workforce for our employers, and a stronger Colorado economy for everyone." 

“With Colorado experiencing more than two open jobs for every unemployed person, it’s time to double down on the State’s efforts to invest in innovative talent development programs. These grant recipients will help meet that demand while connecting Coloradans to good-paying jobs that support families,” said Senate Minority Leader Paul Lundeen, R- Monument. 

Today’s announcement is the second round of funding awarded through Opportunity Now Colorado. The first 46 grant recipients were announced in June 2023. Collectively, 89 grant recipients are projected to serve 20,000 Coloradans. The final application period opens in mid-2024, with more information available at in coming weeks and months.

Opportunity Now Colorado Grant Recipients

Three grant tracks support projects and initiatives at various stages of the development process, including seed, planning, and scale. View full project descriptions. (PDF)

Scale Grants

Funding intended to scale evidence-based practices in education and workforce development that meet employer needs and increase economic mobility (amounts are rounded). Phase two has nine (9) scale grantees with a total funding amount of $21.5 million.

  • CoorsTek, Inc - $4,580,000
  • The Attainment Network - $3,024,849
  • Associated General Contractors of Colorado (AGC) - $2,873,884
  • Mile High Early Learning - $2,436,124
  • Activate Work, Inc. - $2,366,789
  • Public Education & Business Coalition - $2,033,486
  • CrossPurpose - $1,862,072
  • Innosphere - $1,358,278
  • University of Colorado Denver - $1,044,446

Seed Grants

Spur innovation in education to employment and workforce development by creating new partnerships and solutions (amounts are rounded). Phase two has 21 seed grantees with a total funding amount of $33 million.

  • Emergent Campus LLC - $3,509,477
  • SparkFun Electronics - $2,987,573
  • Yampa Valley Partnership for Students, Stewardship, & Sustainability (YVPS3) - $2,912,774
  • South Central BOCES - $2,143,745
  • Denver School of Science and Technology (DSST) Public Schools - $2,047,609
  • Intermountain Health (IHC Health Services, Inc.) - $1,944,938
  • Colorado Mesa University Tech (CMU Tech) - $1,625,468
  • Denver Economic Development & Opportunity - $1,538,593
  • African American Trade Association - $1,525,288
  • Western Colorado University - $1,513,818
  • Apex Energy USA - $1,445,000
  • Community College of Denver - $1,365,812
  • McLain Community High School - $1,319,384
  • Southwest Colorado Mental Health Center, Inc. Dba Axis Health System - $1,289,584
  • Colorado Community College System (CCCS) - $1,219,366
  • Microchip Technology - $1,056,792
  • La Raza Services, Inc. dba Servicios de La Raza - $900,000
  • Banner Health of Colorado via the Banner Health Foundation - $809,716
  • Skill Distillery - $804,497
  • Morgan Community College - $739,917
  • Joint Initiatives for Youth and Families (JI) - $622,625


Support planning, community and employer research, and partnership development in the research or initial development phase of a program. Grants of around $50,000. Phase two has thirteen (13) planning grantees with a total amount of $638,000.

  • Youthentity - $49,900
  • Comfort Home Healthcare, LLC - $49,900
  • Small Business Majority Foundation, Inc. - $49,900
  • PBS12 - $49,900
  • Peak Education - $49,900
  • Energy Efficiency Business Coalition (EEBC) - $49,900
  • Goodwill of Colorado - $49,893
  • The Village Institute - $49,874
  • Colorado State University - $49,812
  • Medecipher, Inc. - $49,777
  • Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce - $49,500
  • Turing School of Software & Design (Turing) - $48,956
  • Larimer County Economic and Workforce Development - $40,837

About the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade

The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) works with partners to create a positive business climate that encourages dynamic economic development and sustainable job growth. Under the leadership of Governor Jared Polis, we strive to advance the State’s economy through financial and technical assistance that fosters local and regional economic development activities throughout Colorado. OEDIT offers a host of programs and services tailored to support business development at every level including business retention services, business relocation services, and business funding and incentives. Our office includes the Global Business Development division; Colorado Tourism Office; Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office; Colorado Creative Industries; Business Financing & Incentives division; the Colorado Small Business Development Network; Cannabis Business Office; Colorado Office of Film, TV & Media; the Minority Business Office; Employee Ownership Office; and Rural Opportunity Office. Learn more at