Apprenticeship Colorado

About Apprenticeship Colorado

In an economy continuously transformed by technological advances, including automation, artificial intelligence, and digitalization, the need for the on-the-job learning opportunities has become critical. Apprenticeships help workers gain the skills they need to keep up with the demands of a rapidly evolving labor market while also earning a paycheck, and employers need a reliable workforce pipeline that provides them with the talent they need to ensure their long-term success.

On June 23, 2021, Governor Polis signed HB21-1007: State Apprenticeship Agency (SAA) into law, codifying the state's commitment to increase access to earn-and-learn programs that lead to high quality jobs and to build the talent pipeline that industry needs. In August of 2021, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) announced the Office of the Future of Work (OFOW) will house the SAA. The State Apprenticeship Agency is designed to:

  • Serve as the primary point of contact with the United States Department of Labor's Office of Apprenticeship concerning apprentices and registered apprenticeship programs;

  • Accelerate new apprenticeship program growth and assist in promotion and development; and

  • Oversee apprenticeship programs, including registration, required standards for registration, certification, quality assurance, record-keeping, compliance with federal laws and standards, and provision of administrative and technical assistance.

With oversight of the SAA, Apprenticeship Directory, and expansion of registered apprenticeships, the OFOW will play a direct role in ensuring more Coloradan workers and businesses have access to high quality apprenticeship programs that create a future-ready talent pipeline.

HB21-1007 Implementation Updates (October 2021)

Following adoption of HB21-1007 and in order to meet the July 1, 2023 deadline in the bill, CDLE must move to secure recognition of the Colorado SAA by the USDOL Office of Apprenticeship. Recognition confers non-exclusive authority to determine whether an apprenticeship program conforms to the published standards and whether the program is eligible for registration. The process for recognition of the SAA is described in 29 CFR § 29.13 - Recognition of State Apprenticeship Agencies.

The OFOW is in the process of hiring a director to lead the SAA, hiring key staff for implementation, establishing a standing stakeholder meeting for implementation updates. To get on the stakeholder list for updates please email apprenticeship@state.co.us.

The legislation directs the SAA to create two Councils to provide professional and technical expertise and advise the SAA on registered apprenticeship standards, rules, and performance. The State Apprenticeship Council (SAC) will oversee the building and construction trades, and the Interagency Advisory Committee on Apprenticeship (IAC) will oversee all other industries. In the first year, the SAC and IAC will support the SAA as it develops the State plan and standards in accordance with 29 CFR § 29.13. Learn more and apply for membership. Members will be named by late January 2022.

Registered Apprenticeship Expansion

The SAA is responsible for investing in and coordinating innovations in apprenticeship expansion. These activities are supported by the federal USDOL Apprenticeship Expansion grants listed below. These expansion grants allow CDLE and its partners to provide funding, technical assistance, outreach, and other resources to support the expansion of quality pre-apprenticeship and registered apprenticeship programs.

The Office of the Future of Work coordinates with workforce, education, sector partners, and apprenticeship intermediaries to build an infrastructure for Colorado's high quality apprenticeship system:

Related Legislation

The SAA oversees the implementation of apprenticeship-related legislation in CDLE, including:

  • SB19-171, Apprenticeship Directory
  • SB19-196, Colorado Quality Apprenticeship Act of 2019
  • HB21-1238, Public Utilities Commission Modernize Gas Utility Demand-side Management Standards