Summer 2017 Newsletter: TalentFOUND, sector strategies, career pathways, work-based learning, WIOA, and 2 Gen.
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Summer 2017 Newsletter

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timeline graphic showing the start of the project in Dec. 2015 to the electronic gateway launch is late 2017
TalentFOUND is currently recruiting charter affiliates.

TalentFOUND is the Colorado talent development network, including all system partners, programs, and initiatives working to ensure students, job seekers, and workers have access to careers and businesses have access to skilled talent. Colorado is known nationally for being industry-led and for alignment across workforce, education and training, and economic development. But our clients need help navigating this sprawling, decentralized network. TalentFOUND is designed to bring together all these systems, partners, programs, and initiatives of the Colorado talent development network under one centralized access point to ensure that students, job seekers, and workers have access to meaningful careers, and businesses have access to skilled talent.
A state partner communications group drafted a communications plan that was finalized with business and local feedback in summer 2016. The TalentFOUND brand was launched fall 2016 with the 2016 Talent Pipeline Report, temporary landing page, FAQ, infographic, press release. Beyond the brand, other components  in creation include:
  • Affiliates communications toolkit: including brand guidelines, examples of when and how to use the TalentFOUND brand, and draft content
  • Electronic gateway: visitors will answer a few questions and then a logic tree will filter results sharing the tools and resources already in existence most relevant  to that particular individual or business. We have a list of 1,000+ assets and continuing to grow
  • Public service announcements + digital ads: to help raise awareness of TalentFOUND and the electronic gateway
  • Repository of success stories: to help us share impacts from across the talent development network
Leading up to the launch of the electronic gateway, anticipated in late 2017, work is focused on the development of the toolkit, brand awareness, and charter affiliate recruitment.

The Marketing and Outreach Work Group is leading the development of the communications toolkit as well as honing aligned messages for external audiences: job seekers, students, workers, and businesses. This group includes representatives from across the talent development network to ensure broad representation and strong content.

To learn more or become a charter affiliate, visit For further questions, contact Britta Blodgett.

Since 2013, sector partnerships have been steadily growing across industries and regions in the state. The partnerships are industry-led, meaning businesses sit at the head table and chair the partnership which is surrounded by people from economic development, education, and workforce development from government and community organizations. Businesses prioritize what they need to thrive and the diverse set of public partners collaborate with business to help achieve these priorities. This enables business to offer the living wage jobs Colorado citizens need.

Today, we have 23 sector partnerships working on industry-defined priorities. To ensure the capacity and expertise to fuel growth of Colorado’s business-led, regional sector partnerships, the CWDC launched the State Technical Assistance Team (STAT).  We currently have 14 STAT members being trained to provide technical assistance directly to sector partnerships. In addition, a directory of subject matter experts is being built. STAT members will be able to tap into this directory as they work to support and advance the priorities for each sector partnership.
To learn more about what is happening with sector partnerships in Colorado, attend the next bi-monthly Sectors Network Webinar in July.

At the state level, Colorado also benefits from a group of vibrant trade associations that, like sector partnerships, are industry-led and aimed at improving the market in which their business members operate. Typically this work happens through advocacy and public policy, economic development, talent development, and B2B community networks. To harness and further enable this statewide capacity, the CWDC launched the Industry Intermediary Consortium in April. The purpose of the Intermediary Consortium is to help ensure business leadership in sector strategies across Colorado by working collectively, where appropriate, to drive systemic change. CEOs of the statewide trade associations for bioscience, cleantech, construction, manufacturing, photonics, and technology gathered for an in-person strategic planning meeting to identify their priorities. The Consortium will work collectively to advance Colorado’s industries through such efforts as: advocate for business-friendly policies, share the important stories of Colorado businesses, and work to improve the business engagement model for growing competency-based learning opportunities.
A woman in scrubs is the main slider on the careers in Colorado homepage with industry icons below.
The homepage

The creation of is a collaborative initiative between the CWDC, CCCS, and CDHE to provide a free online resource about career pathways in Colorado’s critical occupations. It aims to better connect students and job seekers with resources to find their own career path among critical occupations in growing industries, and the education and training needed to progress along those paths.
In order to do this and make the information meaningful, it was essential for industry to lead the conversation about which positions they will be hiring, identifying critical occupations and competencies by economic development region across the state. The annual Talent Pipeline Report identifies 153 top jobs by industry for the state of Colorado based on three criteria: high growth industry, projected high number of openings, and jobs that pay a livable wage. This is the starting place from which industry identifies the 20 most critical occupations to the region and then the foundational competencies of those critical occupations.
Through the fall and winter, CWDC staff led forums with healthcare sector partnerships from across the state to map critical occupations and competencies for each region. They also worked with construction industry associations to determine the regional critical occupations and competencies for construction.
Data collected through these forums has been fed into the healthcare and construction career pathways within the website. A full launch of these two pathways will happen this summer, adding to advanced manufacturing and IT that are already available on the site.
The next set of pathways will be developed for critical occupations in business operations and cyber security. If your sector partnership or industry association is interested in being involved with the critical occupation and competencies mapping beginning this fall, please contact Thomas Hartman.

Dr. Ursula Renold stands at a podium presenting to the group.
International apprenticeship expert Dr. Ursula Renold presents at the Swiss Apprenticeship System 101 at History Colorado in February.

Career pathway programs help students and seekers get on a track to discover and prepare for a career.  The Governor launched the Business Experiential Learning (BEL) Commission in 2015 to advance business-led work-based learning programs or WBL. WBL is one of the key strategies to increase business participation and partnership with education and training to ensure businesses have access to the talent they need and job seekers have  access to career pathways programs that are tied directly to businesses.
There are many types of WBL programs and it can quickly become confusing so Colorado is defining a WBL framework to provide context for this important work. The goal is to have all businesses participate in the talent development network by offering a suite of WBL programs.  Another goal is to ensure occupation/job competency-based alignment between business-led WBL programs and education, training, government and community partners. WBL programs are grouped by four categories: career awareness, career exploration, career preparation and career education & training. WBL programs include everything from career fairs and job shadowing to internships and registered apprenticeships.

The BEL Commission is first and foremost focusing on growing apprenticeships in Colorado, both youth apprenticeships led by CareerWise and registered apprenticeships led by CDLE’s new WBL unit tasked with executing the $1.8 million US DOL Apprenticeship grant Colorado received.

To spur apprenticeship work, CareerWise, the BEL Commission, and CWDC partnered to host a one-day “Apprenticeship Ready Communities” summit in February. International apprenticeship experts Dr. Ursula Renold and Dr. Uschi Backes-Gellner, from the Swiss Economic Institute ETH in Zurich, provided an overview of the Swiss apprenticeship system, offering insights into the best practices that make the Swiss system the international gold standard and how some of their best practices can be implemented in Colorado.

In April, Colorado Department of Labor and Employment - Office of Workforce Development Programs hosted a day-long Registered Apprenticeship Bootcamp for regional workforce centers. Those attendees plus additional local and state public partners will again gather in June for the TalentFOUND WIOA Academy: Elevating Employment Opportunities Through Work-based Learning hosted by CDLE - Office of Workforce Development Programs and Rocky Mountain Workforce Development Association. Participants will expand their understanding of work-based learning, how it can help their communities, and ways to effectively implement programs.

This fall, a work-based learning incubator will be hosted by the Colorado Department of Education, the CWDC, the Colorado Department of Higher Education, Colorado Community College System, and the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. School and district leaders interested in implementing work-based learning will have the opportunity to attend a series of webinars and in-person meetings to support school districts in identifying and leveraging the building blocks to develop a plan to implement high quality work-based learning programming. The incubator will run throughout the school year.  

Additionally this fall, the CWDC, the BEL Commission, and partners will host the TalentFOUND Sectors Summit: Accelerating Work-based Learning. This multiple day event will be for all partners from across the network -- business, education and training, economic development, workforce development -- in order to work together to build a plan for creating work-based learning ready communities, through industry-led, competency-based strategies.

If you have questions about the work-based learning framework, please contact Wendy Brors.

After the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) passed in July 2014, the CWDC was tasked with managing its implementation in Colorado. The Colorado State Plan was developed by partners and with local and state input. The full final version is available on the CWDC website and highlights five state goals. The goals are:
  • Goal 1: Engage business and industry as a fulcrum to inform and align all elements of the demand-driven system
  • Goal 2: Establish a customer-centric and holistic focus to increase coordination, effectiveness, and access through shared data, tools, and resources
  • Goal 3: Engage partner staff at every level for better system alignment
  • Goal 4: Create and deliver a unified message for internal and external communication and connections
  • Goal 5: Drive meaningful outcomes through innovation, alignment of metrics, and accountability
The CWDC is championing the creation of a WIOA State Plan Dashboard, to communicate progress and impacts toward these goals. Draft measures have been created, and next a small team of data experts will convene to refine the measures and input baseline data. After final approval, the information will live on the Colorado Talent Dashboard website.

To learn more about WIOA implementation, attend one of the quarterly WIOA Cross Education Webinar hosted by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, Colorado Department of Education, Colorado Department of Human Services, Rocky Mountain Workforce Development Association, and the Colorado Workforce Development Council.


Colorado was one of five states recently selected to participate in the Parents and Children Thriving Together (PACTT) State Policy Network sponsored by the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP). Under the leadership of Governor Hickenlooper and with the support of NGA and CLASP, Colorado state agencies are working collaboratively to incorporate a two generation (2 Gen) approach that harnesses the full potential of families by intentionally addressing the needs of children and their adult parents/caregivers together. Colorado’s 2 Gen efforts will examine existing policies and programs to identify opportunities to achieve a holistic, strength-based approach to empowering families to thrive.

A fully realized 2 Gen approach will mean that families, government, businesses, and service providers are working together to strengthen supports and opportunities in the areas of early childhood education, postsecondary education and employment pathways, economic assets, social capital, and health and well-being. As a key collaborative partner in the 2 Gen PACTT initiative, the Colorado Workforce Development Council will work closely with state and local partners to:
  • Raise awareness among the business community about the opportunities to leverage 2 Gen thinking to strengthen employee recruitment and retention practices;
  • Explore opportunities to incorporate 2 Gen thinking into the existing work-based learning and career pathways initiatives within the state;
  • Leverage the collaborative efforts happening through the implementation of WIOA to streamline supports for parents and children
For questions about the CWDC’s contributions to the 2 Gen efforts, please contact Renise Walker.
Copyright © 2017 Colorado Workforce Development Council, All rights reserved.

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