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Today, more Coloradans are working than ever before. The Colorado secret is out, our in-migration to the front range is the envy of the nation. But our rural areas are not experiencing the same boom. We need to create the right ecosystem.
We’re connecting companies, talent, K-12 schools, community colleges and training centers. We have youth apprentices in pilot programs at 31 schools in four districts and we’re partnering with 40 businesses.
Within a decade we want to see twenty-thousand students per year receiving college credit, developing skills, and learning how business works. Apprenticeships are designed to grow hand in glove with Skillful, a digital platform, developed with LinkedIn and the Markle Foundation, that will help connect job seekers and employers in this new economy.
Last summer, Microsoft Philanthropies announced a $26 million investment in Skillful to expand these efforts…the largest grant in the history of the foundation.
There’s a lot to do, but Colorado has become an early model for the country. I presented our apprenticeship and Skillful programs to dozens of executives from some of the the nation’s largest foundations, who are putting their considerable weight behind solving challenges of the 21st century, and building a skills-based workforce.