COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) – As Colorado reaches a low point for unemployment, Governor Jared Polis is introducing legislation aimed at filling critical jobs.
The governor’s office announced that Colorado has reached pre-pandemic unemployment levels, with two jobs available for every worker in Colorado. Despite this, many jobs, such as those in law enforcement, are having trouble filling vacant positions. 11 News has covered this in the past, with Pueblo County officials working to fill those jobs.
In an announcement of new legislation on Tuesday, Governor Jared Polis said he is hoping to eliminate financial barriers to these and other jobs requiring certificates and associate degrees. This comes from a new legislation package he said he plans to introduce to the legislature, which he said has bi-partisan support.
The package, he said, is modeled after Care Forward Colorado. This was a program that helped cover costs for jobs in healthcare, such as certification costs for EMTs, medical assistants, as well as several technician jobs. These training programs are offered through community colleges and schools like Pikes Peak State College. The president of PPCS, Lance Bolton, said he saw great success from Care Forward Colorado.
“We’ve seen a big increase in enrollment because of Care Forward Colorado,” he said. “We saw probably a 30% or 40% increase in enrollment across the healthcare programs that were covered.”
Bolton added that most of those jobs stay in Colorado, with 98% of students at PPCS in trade job training programs getting jobs in Colorado Springs.
This proposed program would expand this, including elementary and early childhood education, firefighting, law enforcement, forest management, short-term nursing, and construction trades.
Care Forward Colorado passed through the senate with unanimous support, and a vote of 46 to 19 in favor in the house. On Tuesday, Governor Polis was joined by politicians from both sides of the aisle.
So far, the bill still needs to go through the legislator, but Governor Polis said he is confident they will be able to hammer out the details and get it passed, helping the high school class of 2024 and beyond.