Polis signs executive order requiring apprenticeship programs at state

The number of apprenticeship programs in Colorado state government is set to increase by 50% in the next nine months amid a push by Gov. Jared Polis to boost the state’s workforce and expand employment opportunities.

Polis signed an executive order Thursday requiring the ramp-up. The order mandates that by 2025, all of the state’s 19 departments offer work-based learning programs — something that seven have now or are establishing..

The order also seeks to add 100 new apprenticeship programs in the private sector by the end of June 2024 with technical aid offered by the state.

Polis said the state has not been immune from workforce challenges experienced by other industries. In August, The Denver Post reported that nearly a quarter of state government jobs are vacant.

So state government needs “to do a better job recruiting and retaining great people to work for all of the great career opportunities the state is offering,” he said. “We have everything from snowplow drivers to prison guards to people who process your taxes to park rangers, you name it.”

The governor said the efforts especially would focus on key areas, including human resources, administrative assistance, corrections, social work and nursing. The order requires state agencies to create 10 new work-based learning programs for jobs with high vacancy rates or for cross-department jobs by June 30, 2025.

His order builds on a similar directive, issued by Polis last year, that directs state agencies to begin developing apprenticeship programs.

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