The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, Gov. John Hickenlooper, and other state agencies are now partnering with organizations like CareerWise to move the work-based learning model forward. CareerWise is a nonprofit organization that connects high school students with on-the-job training opportunities, opening doors for careers in industries from health care to advanced manufacturing. The program is laying the groundwork for a statewide system of youth apprenticeships, and it’s estimated that about 20,000 students will be apprenticed by 2027.
Workforce centers across the state are also engaging job-seekers with work-based learning opportunities. Over the course of a year, the Career Center in one of Colorado’s more rural counties placed 265 local job-seekers into a work-based learning activity, and 85 percent of those job-seekers were permanently hired with that employer.
Colorado was also the first state in the country to use Skillful, in partnership with the Markle Foundation. Skillful’s mission is to expand skills training and job opportunities for Coloradans without college degrees, and the initiative has already assisted thousands of Coloradans in getting new skills for new jobs.