2022 Apprenticeship Awards Honors Colorado’s Change Makers in Apprenticeship

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(DENVER) – On Wednesday, November 16, 2022, 22 individuals and organizations dedicated to advancing apprenticeships were honored at the fifth annual Colorado Apprenticeship Awards, at the History Colorado Center hosted by leaders from workforce and apprenticeship communities. 

“Access to quality apprenticeship programs provide individuals with opportunities to develop skills, access education and obtain higher wages for high-demand jobs,” said Julia Brink, QI Program Coordinator at Red Rocks Community College Child Care Innovations and chair of the Interagency Advisory Committee on Apprenticeship.  “Apprenticeship connects employers, education programs and individuals in an alternative pathway to the traditional entrance into workforce. This allows for stronger connections and for individuals to be successful, while still making a living. The work required to create, support and participate in an apprenticeship program requires perseverance and dedication.”

“The apprenticeship career training model has been underutilized for years but Colorado is changing that.  At a time when Colorado residents and employers are trying to find solutions to affordable housing and other economic challenges, an increase in career pathways couldn’t be more welcome,” said Gary Arnold, Business Manager for Denver Pipefitters Local 208 and chair of the State Apprenticeship Council.  “I don’t think you can find a better place to live than Colorado, by utilizing the apprenticeship training model we can make sure that all Coloradans can experience not only the beauty of our state but the economic benefits of accessible career pathways.”

The Colorado Apprenticeship Awards come during Colorado Apprenticeship Month and after the recent signing of HB21-1007 which creates a State Apprenticeship Agency (SAA) within the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE). The agency, housed in CDLE’s Office of Future of Work (OFOW) will serve as the primary point of contact with the United States Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship. SAA will accelerate the adoption, promotion, and development of apprenticeship programs; provide support; and be responsible for programs’ compliance with state and federal laws and standards. Learn more about this effort at the Apprenticeship Colorado website.

“Registered Apprenticeship Programs have been a proven model for workforce development and career advancement since their inception in 1937. We are proud to recognize this year’s award winners for their achievement, innovation, fresh thinking, and values that will raise the bar on Colorado’s economy,” said Joe Barela, executive director of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. “This year’s winners have proven how powerful the registered apprenticeship model can be, and I am eager to see the possibilities that await us in the new year.”

The winners include apprentices, mentors, programs, employers, champions, and partnerships who have demonstrated a remarkable commitment to increasing apprenticeships and expanding access to apprenticeship programs.

Award Winners

Apprenticeship Partners

  • The Master’s Apprentice
  • Community College of Denver
  • Second Chance Center

Apprenticeship Programs

  • ActivateWork
  • Denver Joint Electrical Apprenticeship and Training Committee
  • Pickens Technical College, Apprenticeship to Teaching Program


  • Pinnacol Assurance
  • Intermountain Healthcare, St. Mary’s Hospital
  • Banner Medical Group
  • EVRAZ Rocky Mountain Steel


  • Blake Ely, E Light Electric Services / Donald G White Training Center
  • Jamil Chughtai, Two Octobers
  • Tanya Rodriguez, Centura Health


  • Chris Heuston, Front Range Community College
  • Kelsey Glass, Emily Griffith Technical College
  • Melissa English, CDLE, Office of the Future of Work


  • Alexis Johnson, Western Colorado Area Health Education Center
  • Alexa Garcia Chairez, Tolmar, Inc. in partnership with CareerWise Colorado
  • Brianna Shelton, Western Colorado Area Health Education Center
  • Nina Hernandez, Pinnacol Assurance
  • Patty Kim Taylor, Western Colorado Area Health Education Center
  • Tracey Sherman, Arapahoe/Douglas Works!

Watch the 2022 Apprenticeship Award Winner Videos

The Apprenticeship Awards were made possible through the collaboration of many partners, including representatives from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, CareerWise Colorado, the Colorado Department of Higher Education, the Colorado Workforce Development Council, the Business Experiential Learning (BEL) Commission, the State Apprenticeship Council (SAC), and the Interagency Advisory Committee on Apprenticeship (IAC). 

To view the Governor’s Apprenticeship Month proclamation in full, click here. Sign up for the Office of Future of Work’s Apprenticeship training and information mailing list here.

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