Denver Workforce Program Receives $7 Million Grant

Published on February 08, 2021

DENVER — Denver Economic Development & Opportunity (DEDO) Workforce Services has been awarded $7.38 million from the U.S. Department of Labor that it will invest in its Technology Employment in Colorado Partnership (TEC-P) program, which focuses on training and upskilling the local workforce in key industries such as cybersecurity, advanced manufacturing, and software development. The grant is awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s H-1B One Workforce Grant Program, which in 2021 is providing $145 million to 19 institutions nationwide in higher education, workforce development, and economic development

Denver's TEC-P program is a strong collaboration among area workforce partners to train and educate jobseekers and connect them with employers. The program’s first phase ran from 2015-2019 and served more than 600 individuals, with 29 percent being veterans, 24 percent women, 33 percent minority, and 30 percent over the age of 55. This new grant from the Department of Labor will allow TEC-P to function through 2025, with DEDO providing grant oversight and engaging contractors for direct services

“An economic recovery for all means providing opportunities that are a direct and immediate contributor to that recovery for Denver’s jobseekers, including those who are underemployed and seeking better opportunities,” Mayor Michael B. Hancock said. “This grant provides an excellent opportunity for Denver to connect more of our residents with higher-wage careers.

The award will serve 750 jobseekers from February 1, 2021 to January 31, 2025. Denver Workforce Services will partner locally with its current adult service provider Eckerd Connects to serve 132 of those individuals in the City and County of Denver over that four-year period. The additional 618 jobseekers will be enrolled and served by local area workforce partners including Adams, Arapahoe/Douglas, Boulder, Larimer, Tri-County (Jefferson, Gilpin, Clear Creek) and Weld.

Advanced manufacturing, technology and innovation, and agtech are among Denver’s strong industry clusters that aid in attracting domestic and global companies. This puts Denver at a competitive advantage by utilizing the federal grant through the development of the workforce pipeline needed for these sectors.

“This funding comes at a paramount time where it is more important than ever that Denverites have an opportunity to diversify their skillset in areas that will take them to the next level of their careers and provide higher earning power for them to support their families,” said Eric Hiraga, Denver Economic Development & Opportunity Executive Director. “I am proud of Denver Workforce Services’ excellent stewardship of this funding during the last three years, which is now allowing us to extend this program into 2025.”

DEDO and TEC-P will look at innovative education and training strategies and opportunities such as public-private partnerships to leverage at least 25 percent of the funds awarded, as mandated by federal grant guidelines. Local employers will be able to recommend their existing employees for TEC-P trainings, but jobseekers can also register individually and improve their skills. 

At the arrival of COVID-19, DEDO Workforce Services quickly pivoted all its programs to virtual platforms and continued providing training and education and connecting jobseekers and employers. Among its many programs, Workforce Services provides weekly virtual hiring sessions, job fairs, webinars, and general and industry-specific information sessions. The team recently launched the Denver Technology Loaner Program in partnership with the Denver Public Library, allowing jobseekers with little or no access to a computer or internet to access such tools at no cost with a library card.