For Immediate Release
(Denver) -- Today, Colorado Governor Jared Polis issued a proclamation declaring November Colorado Apprenticeship Month, in recognition of the increasingly important role such programs play in helping Coloradans gain in-demand skills while earning a paycheck. During the pandemic, apprenticeships provide an added value as the state’s economy recovers.
“The world of work is changing,” said Joe Barela, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE). “These changes have only accelerated due to the pandemic. As we work on Colorado’s economic recovery, apprenticeships can help workers of all ages and backgrounds gain in-demand skills while also earning a paycheck. Employers also benefit, as apprenticeships offer them an opportunity to develop the exact skills they need to grow in a changing, fast-moving economy.”
Bill Dowling, Director of CDLE’s Division of Employment and Training, notes that apprenticeships can help the recovery proceed in an equitable way: “Apprenticeships offer employers and career seekers a high-quality approach to address the future of work. Retraining a skilled workforce is essential to respond to the high demand in fields such as IT and cybersecurity as Coloradoans shift to remote working and learning, or healthcare or early childhood education as we continue to respond to our communities' needs. Apprenticeships also offer a powerful up-skilling strategy for existing workers to learn new skills as our facilities retool, supply chains pivot, and energy sector shifts. Apprenticeship programs are particularly beneficial to underrepresented populations who don’t have access to educational opportunities and/or those who don’t work in a job with career paths. At CDLE, our vision is to create a working economy that elevates all of Colorado. Apprenticeships are a tool we use to advance this mission.”
It is for this reason that CDLE has innovated by ensuring that Coloradoans have a streamlined process for employers to register apprenticeships and recruit workforce talent. Arapahoe/Douglas Works! Acts as the state’s Apprenticeship Hub provides complementary Statewide Apprenticeship Consultants to employers and coordinates resources from all 10 workforce regions to support registered apprenticeship expansion. Kelly Folks, Director of A/D Works!, shares: “All Workforce Directors got together and wanted to make sure we collaborated across regions-- Now, more than ever, we are not bound by geography. We are innovating daily to make sure business has what it needs to be successful and customers have long-term career options.” Employers can learn more about registering a program and the benefits of workforce partnership by connecting with an Apprenticeship Consultant.
During Colorado Apprenticeship Month, CDLE, along with the Business Experiential Learning (BEL) Commission, will be hosting the Colorado Apprenticeship Awards virtually on November 10th from 5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. The event will honor apprentices, advocates, employers who have strong apprenticeship programs, and partnerships that further the adoption of these programs. Employers, workforce centers, and partners will be celebrating Apprenticeship Month through information sessions, hiring events, and training. Access the event calendar here.
An increasing number of employers and career seekers are recognizing the benefits of such programs; from 2013 to 2018, the number of apprentices grew from 375,000 to 585,000, a 56 percent increase, according to the United States Department of Labor. A data sheet by the Utah Department of Workforce Services also notes that the return on investment for a registered apprenticeship program is $1.46 for every $1 invested, that 90 percent of apprentices retain employment after their apprenticeship ends, and that apprenticeship graduates earn, on average, $300,000 more over the course of their career than their peers who don’t complete an apprenticeship.
During the month, CDLE will be providing apprenticeship information and resources for both employers and workers. Each week, the department will focus on a different aspect of apprenticeships: Equity in apprenticeships, youth and apprenticeships, increasing access to apprenticeships for individuals with disabilities, and increasing access to apprenticeships for justice-involved individuals.