Success from the session: Expanding training opportunities for unemployed Coloradans
Gov. John Hickenlooper signs House Bill 1272, which will expand training programs
for unemployed Coloradans. The Bell testified in favor of the bill,
and Wade Buchanan, president of the Bell, is at right.
Unemployed Coloradans will be able to take advantage of increased training opportunities under legislation signed today by Gov. John Hickenlooper.
The legislation (HB12-1272) extends enhanced unemployment benefits for eligible claimants enrolled in approved training programs. Approved training is expanded to include employer-based and entrepreneurial training programs. Plus, eligibility now includes unemployed veterans who are receiving benefits under a military or federal claim.
As more workers remain unemployed for longer periods, economists have become concerned that workers' skills are eroding and that they are falling behind on advances in technology and industry trends. Sharpening workers' skills will help them qualify for current and future jobs.
As we testified in our Opportunity Note on this bill, research shows that both the employer-based and entrepreneurial training programs have been found to be cost-effective policies for helping unemployed workers move into employment. An extensive body of research shows that on-the-job training similar to what would be offered in an employer-based training program has been effective in raising earnings and employment rates for low-income adults, particularly women.
The entrepreneurial training offered under HB 12-1272 is modeled after the national Self-Employment Assistance Program (SEAP). An evaluation of SEAP efforts in eight states that had programs between 1995 and 2001 found that large numbers of participants engaged in self-employment, and many remained self-employed for up to three years after participating in the program.
This bill builds on legislation originally adopted in 2009 that set aside $15 million over three years for training unemployed workers. As of May 2012, about $7.8 million remained from the original appropriation, and HB12-1272 allows the state to use it for training through June 30, 2014.
We thank the sponsors, Reps. Crisanta Duran and Robert Ramirez and Sen. Linda Newell, for bringing the legislation and Gov. Hickenlooper for signing it.