Recruitment Continues for Training Providers to Address Colorado's Skilled Worker Shortage

For immediate release

Date: September 18, 2018
Contact: Office of Government, Policy and Public Relations
Bill Thoennes at (303) 318-8004 or Cher Haavind at (303) 318-8003
Fax: (303) 318-8070
Web:  www.colorado.gov/cdle

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(DENVER) -- The Department of Labor and Employment has now begun the fourth phase of recruiting grant applicants for the Skilled Worker Outreach, Recruitment, and Key Training Act, more commonly known as the WORK Act.

Recognizing that a four-year college degree isn’t always a prerequisite to a successful career, Colorado lawmakers established the WORK Act Grant in 2015, promoting skills training with hands-on instruction in the workplace, including internships, on-the-job training, and apprenticeships.

The grant afforded $10 million over three years to support training providers’ outreach efforts and an updating of their curriculum to ensure that industry standards are being met.  In strengthening these outreach efforts and the quality of the curriculum, the WORK Act Grant is ultimately assisting Colorado businesses that are facing a shortage of skilled workers and people who are not on a path to meaningful employment.

During Cycles 1, 2, and 3 more than $9 million was awarded to twenty-two grantees who utilized the funding for outreach and recruitment efforts including hiring and supporting recruiters, program branding, video production, a variety of media channels, and the development of websites.

Now, as work continues on those grantees’ initiatives, the fourth cycle in the WORK Act is being rolled out.  This cycle will run for 17 months, from February 11, 2019 to June 30, 2020, and will provide $1.2 million to recipients.  Grantees will be required to secure a match, cash or in-kind, and investments from businesses and local communities to ramp up their outreach efforts and connect some of Colorado’s fastest-growing and vital industries with a new generation of workers.

A common misconception about work-based learning is that it is limited to the Construction trades and Manufacturing.  For years, that was true but today there are apprenticeships and work-based learning programs fueling hundreds of occupations in such diverse industries as Aerospace, Bioscience, the Creative Industries, Electronics, Financial Services, Food and Agriculture, Transportation and Logistics and Defense, Homeland Security, and Technology Information.  Training providers with instructional programs in all industries are encouraged to apply for this fourth cycle of funding.

The training these businesses are providing is creating a pathway to success and changing lives.  An apprentice with the Culinary Quick Start program recently wrote, “I had applied to a number of restaurants in my neighborhood but was turned down because of my lack of experience.  When I found the Culinary Quick Start program online, I jumped at the chance to join and gave it my all. This program has helped me realize my dream and ignite my passion for cooking.  I cannot begin to tell you how this program has changed my life.”

Trainees like this are applying their education and training to the real world.  To help that work continue, the WORK Grant Act rolls out this latest cycle of vital funding.  For more information about the WORK Act Grant and how to apply, visit the website colorado.gov/pacific/cdle/workactgrant.

Or go to the Department of Labor and Employment’s website at Colorado.gov/cdle and from the home page click on “Jobs and Training” and “WORK Act Grant.”  From that Work Act Grant web page, click on the Vendor Self Serve link to learn more about how to apply.