Governor Announces Long-Term Unemployed Initiative



Office of Gov. John Hickenlooper


Kathy Green, 303-550-9276 c.

Cher Haavind, 303-318-8003 c.



Gov. Hickenlooper launches new program to assist long-term unemployed get back to work

DENVER — Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015 — Gov. John Hickenlooper today joined the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade and local business leaders to announce the launch of a $3 million program that will assist Colorado’s long-term unemployed in getting back to work.

The program will be administered by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) and its funding will support a variety of assessment and training efforts and wrap-around support services at workforce centers statewide.  

“Getting Coloradans back to work, especially those sidelined for more than six months, is a priority for the state,” Hickenlooper said. “As part of this new program, we are offering incentives to Colorado businesses who have job opportunities and equally important, we will be making sure that Coloradans have the skills to fill those jobs.”

Inherent to the program are two outreach campaigns:

Outreach to Employers

It’s been called a Catch-22:  the longer you are unemployed, the more unemployable you may seem to be.  At the new website,, employers who can look past a long stretch of unemployment will be asked to sign an “employer pledge,” telling those job seekers that if they have the right skills and the capacity to learn and grow, they will be given a fair shot.

At the website, employers can explore options for hiring targeted groups, post jobs and learn about work experience and on-the-job training incentives that will give them the opportunity to try out a candidate.

Outreach to the Long-Term Unemployed

The key message to struggling job seekers is that with some help, they can get back in the game.  Some may need to enhance their résumé writing or job interviewing skills to better market themselves.  Others may be seeing a lack of demand for their current skills and will need some upgrading or on-the-job training to ensure they are fully prepared for the future.  The website will get them connected with workforce specialists who can provide them with assessment, training and intensive services. 

The most current data from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Current Population Survey (December 2013 through November 2014) shows approximately 47,200 Colorado job seekers have been unemployed for 26 weeks or longer.  The numbers are edging downward but slowly - the annual average from December 2011 to November 2012 showed 81,600 long-term unemployed and from December 2012 to November 2013, there were 69,400 long-term unemployed in Colorado.

Hickenlooper said the persistence of any level of long-term unemployment as job vacancies continue to rise must be addressed.  “We’re committed to helping these job seekers get back into the labor force.  When you have thousands of Coloradans and their families struggling, local communities will struggle as well.  This new statewide program is an urgent step in putting a full workforce contingent in play, keeping Colorado strong.”

To learn more

This new program is based on federal discretionary funds and establishes individual accounts for those who meet eligibility criteria.  For long-term unemployed job seekers and employers with job openings, start by going to