DENVER (KDVR) — Gov. Jared Polis joined a group of bipartisan lawmakers to announce proposed legislation to help fill the workforce shortage.
The first part of the proposal would cover the cost of an associate’s degree or industry certificate for up to two years in eligible fields. Those fields include elementary and early childhood education, firefighting, law enforcement, forest management construction trades and short-term nursing.
The governor’s proposed budget requests $40 million for the zero-cost education and training. If passed, the investment is expected to help 20,000 Coloradans in the next two years.
“This is important for the state, because right now we’re not filling those jobs. If we can direct students into those jobs and make it cost-free for them to get those credentials, we know we’ll increase the number of students, number of graduates available to fill those jobs. That’s not just good for them, it’s good for Colorado,” said Joe Garcia, the Colorado Community College System chancellor.
Last year, the state launched a similar program called Care Forward Colorado that focused solely on healthcare professions. So far, it’s helped more than 1,400 students.
The second part of the newly proposed bill will help students graduating from high school in 2024. The scholarship program will serve 15,000 students in the state by providing $1,500 to use for any approved training provider in Colorado.