Colorado looks to fill gaps in workforce by funding education |

Colorado looks to fill gaps in workforce by funding education

Colorado state legislators look to pass a pair of bills that would help cover education costs for students wanting to go into early childhood education, nursing, firefighting, law enforcement and other industries experiencing staffing shortages.

One bill looks to cover education costs including tuition fees, books and supplies for students hoping to work in early childhood education, construction, firefighting, law enforcement and forest management. 

The second bill seeks to provide scholarships to students in community colleges, trades schools or universities to prepare for jobs in health care, manufacturing, construction, finance, engineering, IT, education and behavioral and mental health.

The bills could provide free training to an estimated 20,000 students and support about 15,000 graduating high school students each with $1,500 scholarships.

The bills are expected to be introduced later this week and have bipartisan support. Funding for both would stretch for two years and come from the state’s general fund.

The bill proposes spending $45 million from the state’s general fund on students’ education costs. This would include $38.6 million to support students earning a certificate or associate degree at a public community college, local district college or area technical college. 

Then, $5 million would be directed to short-term nursing programs at community colleges and another $1.4 million would go to a competitive grant program facilitated by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.

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