Workforce Innovations in Colorado: Resources for Replication

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Feb. 22, 2021 - In 2018, the CWDC released $350,000 in grants to Colorado’s local workforce areas to scale a promising practice or test a new model of service delivery that maximizes efficiency in serving customers. Three local workforce areas received Workforce Innovation Grants -- Boulder County, Larimer County, and Tri-County.

The below resources highlight the innovative practices developed within each of these three local workforce areas to help others replicate the successful practices. While the case studies offer an overview of each innovation and a snapshot of the various components and outcomes, the toolkits provide a step-by-step guide for replication -- including benefits, timelines, key personnel, and best practices -- for Colorado workforce boards seeking to implement similar programs. 

Thank you to Boulder County, Larimer County, and Tri-County for their partnership in developing these case studies and toolkits.

Boulder County 

To expand their capabilities to meet high school equivalency (HSE) needs in the community, Workforce Boulder County (WfBC) developed a Learning Lab to provide enhanced coaching, mentoring, and support services. The Learning Lab went beyond providing HSE testing support to identify and provide additional services to strengthen youth, through completion of the program into employment and beyond, including financial literacy coaching, mentorship opportunities, and executive functioning coaching. The highly-tailored system enabled WfBC to develop trust and connect clients to multiple support services based on their individual needs. 


Despite high starting salaries for positions in IT, local employers in the Tri-County area were struggling to fill positions with qualified candidates. Driven by this business need, combined with the opportunities for job seekers, the Tri-County Workforce Development Area developed a career pathway program to provide a pathway into the IT career field for those without previous experience. The program featured certification and training opportunities for individuals connected with support services who faced significant barriers to entry into the IT field and who would otherwise not have the resources to pursue the required training. 

Larimer County

In order to expand access to employment services and job coaching expertise, Larimer County Economic & Workforce Development invested in an online tool to serve as a one-stop resource for job seekers in the community. It provides a guided pathway for job seekers, while also allowing for independent navigation of resources based on each user’s unique needs. The tool allows workforce centers to provide high-quality services to job seekers while maximizing the use of available resources, especially when faced with reduced staffing and limitations to in-person services. 

Larimer County began development of this tool in 2018. Since that time, My Colorado Journey has been developed and released as a free, statewide resource to connect job seekers and students to careers, education planning, and support resources, and is available for use by workforce center staff and customers across Colorado.