State getting $12 million to expand apprenticeships

Federal money will be bolstered by providers to create positions in health-care industry


Colorado will receive $12 million from the U.S. Department of Labor to help provide 5,000 health-care apprenticeships in Colorado’s higher education system. The state has also secured $4.2 million in matching funds from health-care partners across the state.

According to a news release, Colorado’s program will seek to enroll at least 5,000 adults ages 18 and older in paid apprenticeships in growing occupations in health care that demand middle- to high-level skills. In this “earn while you learn” model, individuals will earn college credit, make a livable wage and gain work experience, reducing out-of-pocket costs for education and the time required to earn a credential.

Part of the Labor Department’s Scaling Apprenticeship Through Sector-Based Strategies grant program, the Colorado grant is among 23 private-public apprenticeship partnerships awarded nationwide in key industry sectors, including information technology, advanced manufacturing and health care.

Almost $184 million will support the training of more than 85,000 apprentices in new or expanded apprenticeship programs and increase apprenticeship opportunities for all Americans.

“As the job market continues growing and changing, we must ensure that our workforce is prepared,” Gov. Jared Polis said in the release. “This grant allows us to provide skills-based training for 5,000 Coloradans, while expanding access to critical jobs in the health-care industry that can help save people money on health care.”

The Colorado Department of Higher Education will receive the award in partnership with the Colorado Community College System with Kaiser Permanente, Centura Health, HealthOne/HCA, UCHealth and Colorado Rural Health Center. The Colorado Department of Higher Education will also work with the Colorado Workforce Development Council, Colorado Department of Labor and Employment and Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce to support apprentice and business recruitment and act as industry conveners.

“At CCCS we’ve made a pledge to Colorado to keep tuition low, quality high, and to deliver skilled workers to an ever-changing workforce,” Joe Garcia, chancellor of the Colorado Community College System, said in the release. “We are excited to partner with CDHE and several innovative health-care providers in pursuit of this grant to scale health-care apprenticeships throughout the state and across the nation.”

Health care is a major industry in Colorado, contributing to one in three job openings, according to a 2016 study. The industry is booming with 16,400 health and wellness companies, employing 329,000 workers. From 2012 to 2017, Denver added 43,250 health care jobs to its existing 222,700 workers, representing 10 percent of the total job growth in the region. Coloradans employed in the most in-demand health-care occupations make anywhere from $30,000 to more than $100,00 per year.  

Learn more about the apprenticeship grants at


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