Building a jobs pipeline Email
Thursday, March 12, 2015 06:22 PM

“Career pathways” is the new buzzword across many industries where job skills – including hands-on trades skills – are valued often more than pure academics.  It’s a concept that currently is represented in several bills in the Colorado State Legislature and it’s a project that ALCC is already spot on.

A package of bills called the “Colorado Ready to Work” program has bipartisan support in the legislature and both Democrats and Republicans agree it is among their highest priorities for the 2015 session.  

How will "Colorado Ready to Work" benefit industry?

A common workforce problem noted by Fortune Insider is that employers across all sectors and geography find it difficult to find workers with relevant skills.  Companies are left to poach from each other within a stagnant labor pool.  In addition, aspiring workers lack insights about which skills are actually in demand and they often lack access to the resources that could help them develop those skills.  

Many industries are recognizing that part of the solution is for businesses to cultivate “talent pipelines” that will attract and train people for their jobs.  This is the essence of the “Colorado Ready to Work” program.

A recent Denver Business Journal article quoted Rollie Heath who is sponsoring more bills in the package than any other legislator.  Heath explained, “The bills aim to connect leaders of industry and education and create a pipeline for students to move from high school or college graduation directly into jobs that certain industries have a hard time filling.”  

Many of these bills could help students who are not interested in the traditional bachelor’s degree, but who could benefit from education that would move them forward in productive careers.  Among the benefits these bills would bring are underwriting part of the costs of internships for Colorado students, bringing local workforce development councils into closer contact with industries and educators to develop career pathways for students, and facilitating workforce readiness upon graduation by allowing students to apply coursework to apprenticeship programs.  While the 'devil is in the details' with legislation and while it still remains to be seen which bills focused on the skills we're interested in will make it through, the package is a good step forward.

Another outcome involves creating a statewide coordinator to work with Colorado Department of Education, the Colorado Workforce Development Council and schools to help get students in the proper career pathways.  This effort resembles a Career Pathways Program that ALCC already has underway which will teach and train high school students so they can be job-ready upon graduation.

During the winter, ALCC volunteers in three task forces have met with representatives of the Colorado Community College System (CCSC) and are well into the process of identifying entry level jobs and skills, the content and experience high school students should have to prepare them for jobs and the work-based experiences that would enhance classroom training.  

By fall 2015, Career Pathway Programs into the landscape industry should be in place in four Front Range High Schools.

Read more in this issue of Colorado Green NOW:
Houzz: Growth strong for residential market
Use compact loaders to replace shovels, wheel barrows and more
Use designs to sell home security
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