Investing in the Workforce

One of the Department of Personnel & Administration's primary goals is to invest in the State workforce. 

In 2012, the Governor's Office and Department of Personnel & Administration (DPA) worked together to propose changes to the State Personnel System, which had not seen significant change since it was created in 1918.  The "Talent Agenda," as it became known, ensures the State is better able to recruit, retain and reward top talent by increasing flexibility in hiring processes, making changes to employee compensation and moving the State workforce environment into the 21st Century.

Some reforms were approved with the passage of House Bill (HB) 12-1321 and went into effect Sept. 1, 2012.  Others necessitated changes to the State Constitution and therefore required a vote of the people.  (Colorado is one of only four states in country with comprehensive personnel rules in the State Constitution.) To change the Constitution, the General Assembly unanimously referred House Concurrent Resolutions (CHR) 12-1001 for voters to consider in the November 2012 elections (Amendment S on the ballot). Amendment S had significant support, including from employee organizations. It passed with 56% of the vote and was implemented Jan. 1, 2013. Additional details about each component of the Talent Agenda are at the bottom of the page.

Some other workforce reinvestment efforts include:

  • Fully funding the State’s contribution to medical and dental insurance in FY 2012-13 so that no employee saw an increase in their medical plan premiums;
  • Sunsetting the 2.5 percent PERA swap so that, for the first time in two years, employees received that 2.5 percent back in their net paycheck beginning in July 2012;
  • A 2% cost of living increase for FY 2013-14 for all State employees, plus additional merit increases; and
  • Ending the biweekly pay-date shift so that, beginning in 2013, biweekly-paid employees received their final June paycheck in June, rather than delaying their pay cycle into July.

DPA also launched a high quality wellness program for State employees on July 1, 2013. In the first three months, the State of Wellness Colorado program had more than 10,000 State employees enrolled. 

The department continues to pursue additional opportunities to reinvest in our workforce. If you have ideas, please send them to us at We'd love to hear from you. 

Talent Agenda presentation given to more than 6,000 state employees

House Bill 12-1321

  • Approved by the Colorado General Assembly on March 21, 2012
  • Rulemaking process initiated by DPA on May 31, 2012
  • Signed by Governor John Hickenlooper on June 6, 2012
  • Opportunity for comment by the general public on July 9, 2012
  • Changes became effective on Sept. 1, 2012
  • Included changes to bumping rights and created a new merit-based pay system
  • HB12-1321 employee FAQ 

Amendment S

  • The Colorado General Assembly unanimously referred HCR 12-1001 to the ballot May 2, 2012  
  • Voters approved the proposal on the ballot with 56% of the vote on Nov. 6, 2012
  • Changes were made effective Jan. 1, 2013, via emergency and permanent rulemaking 
  • Amendment S had the following components:
    • expanded veterans preference,
    • changed the hiring selection process (testing, rule of 3, waiting period)
    • changed residency requirements for state employment,
    • extended the length of temporary employment
    • exempted select positions from the classified system and
    • created term limits for the State Personnel Board.
  • Amendment S employee FAQ
  • State Personnel Director speaking tour schedule and video