Success from the session: Skills for Jobs Act will boost Colorado's workforce, economy
The Bell's Frank Waterous, fifth from left, and Rich Jones, second from right, join a group of supporters as Gov. John Hickenlooper signs the Skills for Jobs Act. Sen. Linda Newell and Rep. Daniel Kagan, flanking the governor, sponsored the bill.
Gov. John Hickenlooper on Monday signed into law House Bill 12-1061, the "Skills for Jobs Act," which will help match industry's need for skilled workers to the training provided in a broad range of Colorado post-secondary education and workforce programs. The Bell Policy Center strongly supported the bill and was among the groups that participated in the signing ceremony at the governor's office.
In our testimonies to the House Education and the Senate Business, Labor and Technology committees, we noted that the Skills for Jobs Act is a major step forward in ensuring that our state's education and workforce programs meet labor market demands, provide Colorado workers with marketable 21st century skills and boost our economy.
The bill directs the Colorado Department of Higher Education to coordinate with other state agencies and private sector organizations in developing annual reports that identify our state's workforce needs, post-secondary credential production, the gap between the two, and potential actions that will help to close the gap. The reports will be responsive to industry, post-secondary education and training programs, and students – traditional-age and especially working-age adults – who will be able to use this information to make more informed decisions about future career directions, marketable skills and educational pathways.
Counting the full scope of post-secondary credentials awarded in Colorado – not just certificates and degrees – and identifying those areas in which new or expanded efforts are needed recognizes both the growing necessity of some level of post-secondary education and training beyond high school, and the fact that many well-paying and high-demand jobs require less than a four-year degree.
We are pleased that the Skills for Jobs Act has become law, and thank Rep. Daniel Kagan and Sen. Linda Newell for sponsoring this important legislation and Gov. Hickenlooper for signing it.
Other organizations supporting the legislation included the National Federation of Independent Business, the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry, various chambers of commerce including the Denver Metro Chamber, GreenCO (Green Industries of Colorado), Independent Electrical Contractors-Rocky Mountain, the Interwest Energy Alliance, the Colorado Association for Career and Technical Education, Stand for Children Colorado, and the Colorado League of Charter Schools.
In addition, Paula Gomez Farrell, on behalf of the Skills2Compete-Colorado Campaign, and Stephen Jordan, president of Metro State, supported the bill.