Apprentices, businesses, and organizations honored at 2018 Excellence in Apprenticeship event

Nineteen individuals and organizations were honored Wednesday night at the  2018 Celebration of Excellence in Apprenticeship at the Governor’s Executive Residence. The event was sponsored by members of the Governor’s Business Experiential and Learning (BEL) Commission including the Colorado Workforce Development Council, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, the Colorado Department of Higher Education and CareerWise Colorado.

Outstanding Youth Apprentices

Aldrin Feliciano - EKS&H - PHOTO
Aldrin brings a great attitude to the work he does and has been an impactful member of the EKS&H team since he started with the company in the summer of 2017. He is self-motivated and self-directed, good at taking the initiative and getting things done.

Reade Webb - Arrow Electronics - PHOTO
Reade has impressed everyone with his strong work ethic, his ability to learn quickly and his determination to be the best he can be. Reade is the consummate professional. His employer says that from the beginning, he has performed more like a full-time employee than an apprentice.

Margaret Houser - Nordson Medical - PHOTO
Margaret has been a go-getter and has taken the driver’s seat with her apprenticeship in guiding where she goes with her experience. She sets the bar high for other apprentices through her professionalism and productivity, and as a result is breaking down stereotypes by excelling in a field in which women have been traditionally under-represented.

Isaiah Virgil - HomeAdvisor - PHOTO
First-year youth apprentice Isaiah is excelling as a project coordinator for HomeAdvisor. He takes initiative that results in productive work for his employer, providing value through his modern youth apprenticeship.

Outstanding Apprentices

Ralph Left Hand Bull - Sheet Metal Workers Apprenticeship - PHOTO
Ralph was enrolled into a WORK Act grant program that changed his life. He was introduced to several apprenticeship opportunities and was recruited into the Sheet Metal Workers Apprenticeship, and little did they know, it was the only one he wanted to do. His colleagues in the trade have embraced both him and his family and his apprenticeship feels like home.

Kourtney Brewer - Stolle Machinery - PHOTO
Kourtney is a young woman who wanted to take a career path that not too many women would take. She liked to fix things, work hands-on and was selected for an apprenticeship as a machine assembler with Stolle Machinery. She is doing great and is now excelling in a role that has not been traditionally staffed by women.

Victoria Garcia - Centura Health
Victoria Garcia is married and has a young daughter.  Victoria always wanted a career in the medical field but did not have the financial resources to pursue a medical career. She was very excited to apply and to be chosen for the Registered Apprenticeship Medical Assistant training position with Centura High Country Health in Frisco, Colorado. Victoria is now working full time as a Medical Assistant, earning advancement in her wages and is a real “Super Star”.

Reshee Aghi - The Master’s Apprentice
Reshee was an out-of-school youth when he was first introduced to the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act at Arapahoe/Douglas Works. Shortly after enrolling into the workforce center, Reshee was placed into the Master’s Apprenticeship program for skilled trades. The workforce center was able to support Reshee throughout his apprenticeship by providing tools, clothing and supportive services. Reshee now runs his own business in construction and electrical work.

Outstanding Employers

Pinnacol Assurance - PHOTO
Pinnacol has more than 25 youth apprentices from the first two CareerWise cohorts. Their vision and commitment makes them the model for how youth apprenticeship will look onsite at enterprise-level companies. As word of Pinnacol’s successful program spreads across the country, delegates from more than a dozen states have come to see their apprentices in action and witness the benefits apprenticeship to Pinnacol’s business and employees.

Pinnacol Apprentice Spotlight: Isela Aguilar, Financial Services Apprentice and Abraham Lincoln High School graduate
Isela is a college student at the Community College of Denver and graduate of Abraham Lincoln High School. In her various roles with each of her teams, Isela has been recognized by her supervisors for her outstanding professionalism, work ethic, communication and attention to detail.

Geotech Environmental Equipment - PHOTO
Geotech employs youth apprentices in a number of different career pathways — advanced manufacturing, financial services and IT. The company has been a vocal supporter of CareerWise’s youth apprenticeship program.

Geotech Apprentice Spotlight: Valerie Gallegos, financial services youth apprentice & Westminster High School student
Valerie was a freshman when she was introduced to Geotech at a job fair. Geotech worked with CareerWise on getting this young, ambitious 14-year-old into the program. She’s an honor student, involved in student council, mentors other students, as well as participating in multiple athletic sports at her high school.

RK Mechanical - PHOTO
Over the past 23 years, RK Mechanical has welcomed over 1200 apprentices into various trades-based programs and currently has over 300 apprentices in class, working towards their journeyman status within the electrical, pipefitting, plumbing, sheet metal, and ironworking trades in Colorado and Utah. RK attributes their valued partnership with Emily Griffith Technical School and partnerships with local high schools as key to growing trades-based programs.

Techtonic - PHOTO
In 2016, Tectonic created the Techtonic Academy and became the first company in the State of Colorado (and one of the first in the country) to establish a Department of Labor registered apprenticeship program for software development. Techtonic’s competency-based apprenticeship was developed specifically to address the talent deficiency in the software development industry. Techtonic is addressing the talent gap, while promoting greater diversity, by granting opportunities to veterans, minorities, and underserved populations. Techtonic believes that a diverse and inclusive talent pool is the primary building block upon which great companies are built.

Special Recognition

Denver Public Schools CareerConnect - PHOTO
Denver Public Schools CareerConnect has been an integral partner to CareerWise in launching modern youth apprenticeship in Colorado from the start. DPS was on the initial international trip to Switzerland to learn about the Swiss model and why it’s so impactful, and was among the first to translate that into a system that works for Colorado. DPS has set the standard for the framework of work-based learning programs for students here in Colorado, and is continuing to be an essential partner to CareerWise during the pilot phase in both design, implementation and with their tireless work in recruiting and placing apprentices across the district — in fact, DPS has placed more apprentices than any other school district in the state.

DPS Student Spotlight: Monique Lane, business operations apprentice & High Tech Early College student
Monique is a high school senior attending High Tech Early College and is in her second year of a business operations apprenticeship at Pinnacol Assurance. In addition to her performance at Pinnacol, Monique is also maintaining an exemplary GPA in high school while simultaneously taking college credits at the Community College of Denver where she intends to earn an associate’s degree in Business.

Colorado Community College System - PHOTO
The Colorado Community College System (CCCS) is the state’s largest system of higher education, serving more than 137,000 students annually at 13 colleges and 39 locations across Colorado. CCCS has a long-standing commitment to workforce development, supporting businesses in talent pipeline development, and supporting students in pursuing meaningful, living-wage careers in growing industries in Colorado. CCCS’s commitment to expanding apprenticeships is evidenced by a number of initiatives including:

  • Pueblo Community College’s partnership with Evraz.
  • Front Range Community College’s Medical Assistant program with Associates in Family Medicine
  • Arapahoe Community College and the Medical Assistant apprenticeship with Centura Health.
  • Red Rocks Community College apprenticeship in Early Childhood Education with several early childhood providers
  • Community College of Aurora’s Diesel Power Mechanics program preparing students for careers as Diesel Technicians with nine industry partners.

Colorado Workforce System - PHOTO
The Colorado Workforce System provides an invaluable service by connecting job seekers and employers in advancing apprenticeships as a key strategy to create economic opportunity and vitality in our state. In 2016, Colorado received the USDOL Apprenticeship Expansion Grant which, through workforce system partners, has been a powerful catalyst for creating opportunity across our state, serving jobseekers and businesses. Colorado’s Workforce System is nationally renowned for its innovative approaches to building public-private partnerships and building a  community of practice of creating opportunity for apprenticeship expansion.

Southwest Colorado Healthcare Sector Partnership - PHOTO
In 2017, the Southwest Colorado Area Health Education Center (AHEC), who is the convener for the Southwest Colorado Healthcare Sector Partnership, applied with the US Department of Labor to be the registered group sponsor for the first ever medical assistant apprenticeship program in Southwest Colorado. In August of this year, the first two apprentices completed the program. The employer, journey-workers, and apprentices all had positive experiences, and two new apprentices will be enrolled into the program in the near future. The partnership is excited and encouraged to see the momentum for apprenticeships statewide and hopes to expand its healthcare occupation offerings in 2019.

The Mesa County Workforce Center / Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce Workforce Collaborative - PHOTO
Workforce Centers have played a critical role in the development of workforce training opportunities throughout Colorado. Increasingly, there are a number of chambers of commerce beginning to address workforce training issues as well. The Mesa County Workforce Center and the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce came together and through industry led discussions, have helped create a partnership with the Grand Junction MakerSpace to house a short term training center for the manufacturing industry. They utilized workforce development funds to purchase equipment, tools, and curriculum specific to the manufacturing industry. The training space can be used for new staff, as well as skilling up existing staff to successfully continue their career pathways.

Pueblo Electrical JATC - PHOTO
The Pueblo Electrical JATC is part of a national training alliance sponsored by the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). Over the years, they have continually trained the best craftspeople in the industry without cost to the taxpayers. Students in the program “earn while they learn” by being employed with signatory contractors while attending school at night at a uniquely designed training center. Nationally, over 350,000 apprentices to journeyman status have been trained through local programs like the Pueblo Electrical JATC.

Greater Metro Denver Healthcare Partnership & Centura Health - PHOTO
The Greater Metro Denver Healthcare Partnership has established both pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs, with Centura Health playing a leading role. Through partnerships with high schools and community colleges, Centura hosted 12 medical assistant apprentices in 2018 and plans to expand the January 2019 cohort to have 20 individuals. A robust pre-apprenticeship program is expected to enroll 32 individuals in the fall of 2019 and will rotate them through eight allied health areas to provide broad exposure to the field. These programs are creating new pipelines of medical talent that will help to meet the significant need for workers in the healthcare industry.


About the BEL Commission
The Business Experiential Learning (BEL) Commission was Created by Governor’s Executive Order and aligns business needs with key state agency strategies to build a more capable and
agile workforce, through work-based learning strategies.

About the BEL Commission partners:
The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) promotes the integrity and vitality of Colorado's employment environment through recruiting, training and hiring support to businesses, while supporting jobseekers with training and job search assistance. CDLE received $2.2 Million in US Department of Labor Apprenticeship Expansion Grant funds to develop and strengthen apprenticeship programs in Colorado. CDLE’s Work-Based Learning Unit administers this grant as part of a comprehensive portfolio of state and federally-funded programs that advance work-based learning across a wide continuum of education, industry and community partners. As a leader in a state-wide community of practice, CDLE is a catalyst for creating a vibrant and adaptive Colorado workforce and for building pathways of opportunity for business and job seekers to prosper together.

The Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE) works with the Colorado Commission on Higher Education, to advocate, develop policies and support students to maximize higher education opportunities for all. CDHE believes every Coloradan should have an education beyond high school to pursue their dreams and improve our communities.

The Colorado Workforce Development Council (CWDC) is a Governor appointed, industry-led, cross-system coalition of state agencies and partners working together to better serve students, job-seekers, workers and  businesses. The CWDC aligns the efforts of economic development, education, workforce development, government and business stakeholders at the local, regional and state levels.

CareerWise Colorado is the first modern youth-apprenticeship system in the United States. As a nonprofit intermediary, CareerWise’s program crosses Colorado’s geographies and industries, and provides students a practical learning experience to augment the classroom in fields such as healthcare, business operations, information technology, advanced manufacturing and financial services.