July 8, 2022 - As stimulus funds flow into Colorado in the wake of the pandemic, there is a unique opportunity to ensure that these one-time investments lead to sustainable education and training opportunities for Coloradans that help meet the state’s workforce needs. Innovative finance is a set of financial tools that Colorado can use to sustain funding for workforce and talent development in the long term. To embed innovative finance into Colorado’s talent development system, and carry out the CWDC’s vision of individual and statewide economic prosperity, the CWDC is implementing the Colorado Innovative Financing Roadmap.
The Roadmap's objective is that all Coloradans will have access to the financial resources they need to pursue the education and training that allows them to obtain high-quality jobs. To achieve this objective, the Roadmap outlines how state partners will work together to create an environment for financial innovation to expand access to education and training while putting consumer protections at the forefront of those efforts. This includes four specific actions:
Action 1: Document the innovative finance landscape and launch a community of practice: Identify actors, understand regulations, and extract lessons from innovative finance application to workforce development.
Action 2: Embed innovative finance into the state of Colorado’s larger talent ecosystem.
Action 3: Encourage and support innovative finance pilots for in-demand skills & occupations in Colorado’s critical industries.
Action 4: Promote clear regulations and policies at the state level and identify advocacy opportunities at the national level.
Examples of innovative finance include impact bonds, outcomes-based funding, and income share agreements. Employers, training providers, and learners can benefit from these types of pooled funding that are distributed in a way that is equitable, aligns the interests of lender and borrower, and promotes accountability.
At this stage of implementation of the Roadmap, the CWDC is largely focused on Action 3 to encourage and support innovative finance pilots in critical industries, as well as creating an Innovative Finance Community of Practice. If you are interested in pursuing a pilot program or learning more about innovative finance and the community of practice, please contact Jessica Maiorca, CWDC Innovative Financing Consultant, at email@example.com.
The CWDC will also be presenting on innovative financial tools for sustaining sector partnerships at the Statewide Sector Partnership Community of Practice webinar on July 19 from 3-4 p.m. Register here.