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Press Release: Colorado Officially Recognized as a State Apprenticeship Agency

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(DENVER) – The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) announced today that Apprenticeship Colorado is now officially recognizedas a State Apprenticeship Agency (SAA) to oversee and register apprenticeship programs in the state effective July 1, 2023.  Recognition from the U.S. Department of Labor as the SAA comes after many months of collaboration with national and local partners, rulemaking, and strategic planning and communications to prepare for this transition. 

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 March 2023, SB23-051 housed the SAA within the Office of the Future of Work with CDLE. 

“Colorado’s SAA recognition solidifies the state’s commitment to building quality career pathways for more Coloradans, and provides a unique opportunity to build an apprenticeship system that meets Colorado’s needs,” said Denise Miller, Director of Apprenticeship Colorado. “We’re proud to join the over 30 other SAAs and the U.S. Department of Labor to shape an innovative national apprenticeship system, and look forward to the work ahead.” 

Over 6,000 Coloradans currently participate in apprenticeship programs with the majority in the building and construction trades, and growing participation in new and emerging apprenticeship industries such as healthcare, hospitality, IT, education, and cybersecurity.

“Colorado has been a leader in apprenticeship for many years, and we’re excited to take this next step which will allow us to better support all industries and businesses to build the talent they need and connect more workers to good jobs,” said Joe Barela, Executive Director of the CDLE. “We believe apprenticeships are the future of work, and Apprenticeship Colorado is a critical ingredient of a resilient Colorado economy.” 

Effective July 1, 2023, the State’s roles and responsibilities will expand in the following ways:

  • Apprenticeship Colorado (SAA) is recognized by the Office of Apprenticeship to act on behalf of U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to register and oversee registered apprenticeship programs (RAPs) in Colorado for Federal purposes.
  • Apprenticeship Colorado staff will serve as primary points of contact for RAP Sponsors and apprentices. 
  • Apprenticeship Colorado will provide technical assistance to current and prospective RAP sponsors. 
  • Apprenticeship Colorado will align the registered apprenticeship system with Colorado’s workforce, education, and economic development priorities.

Existing RAP Sponsors in Colorado will receive communications from the Apprenticeship Colorado team on what action items are needed as Colorado transitions to an SAA.  RAP Sponsors in Colorado can learn more about the SAA Transition on our website.

Any questions regarding the launch and official recognition of the Colorado State Apprenticeship Agency can be directed to

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