Colorado Lawmakers Improve Popular Program That Prepares Students for High-Demand Professions

Colorado Lawmakers Improve Popular Program That Prepares Students for High-Demand Professions

Backed by near-unanimous support from members of both parties, the Colorado Senate approved an expansion of the popular Career Development Success Program.

The program helps ensure that students graduate high school prepared with skills, experience and knowledge for success in high-demand fields.

With today’s passage of House Bill 1266, the bill now heads to Gov. John Hickenlooper for his signature.

“This bipartisan legislation will ensure Colorado has a homegrown talent pipeline of prepared students who have the skills and knowledge to be successful and achieve the American dream. HB 1266 will ensure our schools are aligning their preparation programs with the needs of Colorado businesses.”

Sen. Owen Hill

The two-year pilot program has made Colorado a national leader in preparing students for success in high-demand professions. Nearly 30 school districts have received a roughly $500 bonus for each student who graduated with an industry credential in an in-demand field, completed a work-based learning experience or completed a computer science AP course.

In the first year, the number of students earning industry credentials increased by 60 percent in participating districts with demand exceeding the funds provided with the 2016 law.

“Thanks to the bipartisan support of state legislators, Colorado students will now benefit from increased access to post-secondary opportunities while in high school, which lead to increased student engagement, higher GPAs, and increased graduation rates. The Career Success program provides an important pathway for students to apply their learning and develop skills that will prepare them for Colorado’s high-growth, high-paying jobs.

“This program is a win for students, schools and local employers. We look forward to partnering with any stakeholder interested in taking advantage of the program.”

Scott Laband, president of Colorado Succeeds

Not only does the program help the state meet labor market demands, similar programs nationally have increased the graduation rate as well.

HB 1266 extends the program through 2024 and helps ensure more equitable sharing of funds statewide.

“We want to thank Representative Daneya Esgar, Representative James Wilson, Senator Nancy Todd and Senator Owen Hill for working across the aisle and sponsoring this transformative legislation.

“Ensuring Colorado businesses have qualified workers they need will drive Colorado’s economy forward, while giving students a path to lifelong success.”

Tom Greene, Western Regional Advocacy Director, ExcelinEd in Action

For more information on the value of College and Career Pathways, visit ExcelinEd’s policy library.