Publication Date: September 21, 2016
To: The 45th President of the United States
From: Gov. John Hickenlooper
The country has worked to recover from the depths of the great recession, yet we are faced with new challenges in a dynamic economy that have great implications on how we prepare the country’s workforce. Talent development must be a signature component of any state’s economic development agenda and our federal government must remain committed to supporting states in this endeavor.
The challenge in Colorado is clear. While postsecondary education or training is a prerequisite for 88% of the state’s top jobs, only 23% of students who begin high school in Colorado and go immediately into college following high school, graduate with a degree within 150% of the time allotted. This pathway works for less than 25% of Coloradans and still may not guarantee the skill set needed for the jobs available. How do we approach this skill mismatch?
We have utilized partnerships to embolden locally developed solutions that are collaborative and innovative. Skillful, a partnership with the Markle Foundation and LinkedIn, is addressing the skills mismatch. The project is engaging business to identify the specific competencies needed to qualify for and excel at in-demand occupations, and connects individuals with community colleges, training centers, and other programs that provide competency based education.