Advancing Colorado's Economic Recovery
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many Coloradans. Some have lost their jobs and are searching for new opportunities; others want to advance in their current field or change careers completely.
To help Coloradans accomplish their career goals in the wake of the pandemic, the Colorado Workforce Development Council (CWDC) has taken an active role in advancing the state’s economic recovery as a result of legislation, including HB21-1264 “Funds Workforce Development Increase Worker Skills” which Governor Jared Polis signed on June 23, 2021. The funding for the bill comes from the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) which in turn comes from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
The bill’s goal is to provide aid for economic recovery to the people, businesses, and industries most impacted by COVID-19; another aim is to improve outcomes for learners and workers and help prepare Coloradans for well-paying, quality jobs of the future. The bill emphasizes equity and directs funds towards underserved communities disproportionately impacted by the pandemic including Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) communities, people with disabilities, New Americans, justice-involved individuals, older workers; there’s also an emphasis on supporting small businesses.
The CWDC has been and is still involved in the development of other stimulus-related legislation. This page will be updated with these bills once they are signed. Below, you can view other stimulus-related legislation that is being implemented.
How are the HB21-1264 funds being used?
The funds are being used to:
- Invest in Career and Technical Education (CTE) to develop high-wage, demand-driven training;
- Encourage the growth of short-term programs to meet post-pandemic demand;
- Invest in Local Workforce Boards across the state so they can better partner with employers, Workforce Centers, apprenticeship programs, and others to respond to the needs of their communities; and
- Enhance the statewide workforce ecosystem, including grants for statewide workforce innovation initiatives, to be dispensed by the Colorado Workforce Development Council (CWDC).
The bill appropriates $75 million from the American Rescue Plan’s federal funds; the Colorado Department of Education will use $5 million for adult education; $10 million will go towards investment in Career and Technical Education (CTE); and $60 million will be distributed by the CWDC.
The implementation of this legislation uses the data in the Talent Pipeline Report to support Coloradans. For a quick overview of HB21-1264 and the workforce stimulus funding from the 2021 legislative session, watch this 4-minute video.
Other Stimulus-related Legislation
SB21-232 - Displaced Workers Grant: This bill provides $15 million in state funds to the Colorado Department of Higher Education to help displaced workers impacted by the pandemic obtain a credential or degree by June 2023. Through the grant, participants can receive enrollment support in registration and financial aid; personalized support from a Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative Navigator; career support; help understanding the cost of obtaining a degree; and scholarship funds. Learn more at the Colorado Department of Higher Education’s website.
HB21-1149 - Energy Sector Career Pathway In Higher Education: The bill, informed by feedback from business, education, workforce development, and clean-energy advocates, as well as construction and electrician trade unions, has two provisions: the first requires the creation of an energy sector career pathway by the 2022-23 academic year through a collaboration between state partners. The second provision establishes the Strengthening Photovoltaic and Renewable Careers (SPARC) Workforce Development Program which will increase training, apprenticeship, and education programs designed to equip Coloradans with the skills they need to get good jobs in the energy sector. The program will be housed at the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment and will allocate funding to expand training programs, in consultation with CWDC, CCCS, and the Department of Higher Education. Read the press release.
HB21-1264 - Funds Workforce Development Increase Worker Skills: Part of HB21-1264 provides $5 million in funding to the Colorado Department of Education’s Office of Adult Education; the office will then grant out these funds to organizations who provide adult education and English language services. Learn more at the Colorado Department of Education’s website.
HB21-1270 - Appropriation To Department Of Human Services For Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: This bill grants $6 million in state funds to the Colorado Department of Human Services. It provides participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) who are enrolled in SNAP's employment and training program, titled Employment First, subsidized employment, transportation and rental assistance, assistance with training costs, and other employability services. Learn more at the Colorado Department of Human Services’ website.
HB21-1330 - Higher Education Student Success: This bill provides $51 million in federal American Rescue Plan dollars to help students who have started but not finished a degree or credential. It implements student success strategies across the state and charges the Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE) with reimagining the role of postsecondary institutions in a post-pandemic world to build economic resiliency and strengthen the state’s workforce. Learn more at the Colorado Department of Higher Education’s website.