New Tool Analyzes Interplay of Employment and Benefits to Help Workers Advance Their Careers

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May 26, 2022 - Today the Colorado Workforce Development Council (CWDC) and the Federal Reserve Banks of Atlanta and Kansas City announced the launch of the Career Ladder Identifier and Financial Forecaster (CLIFF) tool, designed to help Coloradans make informed decisions about their careers. 

The tool helps people advance their careers by providing information about:

  • How changes in their employment may affect the public assistance they receive
  • How workforce strategies can help workers cope with public assistance loss as they advance
  • In-demand career pathways that lead to quality jobs and that can compensate for a loss of public assistance

People who want to take advantage of the tool are encouraged to contact their local Workforce Center; the centers’ expert staff can use the tool to help their clients advance their careers at no cost. 

“Many Coloradans want to advance their careers, but can’t afford to lose the critical public benefits they need to survive,” said Lee Wheeler-Berliner, managing director of the CWDC. “CLIFF will help workers understand that there are ways forward, ways in which they can provide for themselves and their families, even after losing public assistance. As we continue to advance Colorado’s economic recovery, it’s imperative that we equip residents with the tools they need to make career decisions that best fit their unique needs and ambitions.”

Wheeler-Berliner’s comments underscore the importance of providing customized resources: a robust feature of CLIFF is its ability to tailor its outputs based on the circumstances of the user, including their income, region, occupation, and family dynamics. 

The tool will strengthen the state’s talent pipeline, and, by extension, its economy. Employers also stand to benefit from CLIFF as they continue to struggle to find the talent they need to succeed. 

In March 2020, just before the country entered a state of lockdown, a survey from the US Chamber of Commerce found that 74 percent of hiring managers agreed that there is a skills gap in the current labor market; 48 percent said that candidates lacked the skills needed to fill open jobs. The pandemic has only exacerbated the severe skills gap; more than half of respondents to a recent McKinsey survey said that closing skill gaps in their companies’ workforces has become a higher priority since the pandemic began. By introducing Coloradans to career pathways, CLIFF will help connect workers to growing industries that are in need of workers.