Colorado Legislature Introduces Job Training and Education Bills

by | March 6, 2015

By Megan Schrader

Democrats and Republicans unveiled six bills Thursday that they hope will expand the middle class by providing better job training and education. The news conference was among the most bipartisan of the session and highlighted the commitment of both parties to creating jobs and improving the economy.

"I'm a parent with a kid in a vocational program ... He was enticed away to New Mexico," Senate President Bill Cadman, R-Colorado Springs, said. Cadman said he wants to create opportunities so students can be taught and trained in Colorado and stay to work after.

Sen. Rollie Heath, D-Boulder, said he has worked his entire career to bridge the gap between Colorado students graduating from high school and careers.

Heath said thousands of jobs in Colorado are going unfilled because there aren't qualified employees to hire while thousands are looking for work or better jobs.

The six bills have not been introduced, but all have Republican and Democratic co-sponsors.

Lawmakers said Thursday that the bills would help create pathways to jobs in construction, information technology and health care; promote mobile learning labs that can bring education to the workforce; add apprenticeship programs to concurrent enrollment classes that can count toward associate's degrees while students are in high school; expand unemployment benefits for those who are enrolled in continuing education classes; improve awareness about job opportunities and career training; and expand opportunities for students concurrently enrolled in science and math fields to earn associates degrees.

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