Denver Construction Careers Program

two men working in construction on building with sunlight hitting them

There is tremendous opportunity in our city and region today due to unprecedented levels of public/private investment in large-scale commercial, cultural, and infrastructure projects.

After a successful pilot to test and identify best practices for connecting Denver residents to city-funded construction jobs, the Denver Construction Careers Program (DCCP) continues to help identify, recruit, train, and support a strong pipeline of new and existing construction professionals to support this exciting period of growth in our city. The benefits of our vibrant economy should be shared by every resident, particularly those living in neighborhoods most impacted by these projects.

Whether you are a jobseeker, an employer, a resource provider, or an industry trainer, we invite you to participate.

Overview

Denver Economic Development & Opportunity (DEDO) is committed to ensuring that Denver residents benefit from the unprecedented investments being made in the city's infrastructure. Our goal is to strengthen training and job placement for large public projects, building income and wealth for residents today while we also build Denver’s workforce of the future.

The Denver Construction Careers Program (DCCP) focuses on public infrastructure projects over $10M and above. These include Elevate Denver Bond Program projects, key National Western Center facilities, and significant work being done at Denver International Airport (DEN). The projects total more than $1B in value and will create job opportunities for targeted populations, increasing access to opportunity for those that need it most.

Denver City Council unanimously approved an ordinance creating DCCP in May 2023. 

Eligibility

DCCP implemented this mission by focusing on these key areas for capital improvement projects:

  1. Workforce Coordinator
    1. Contractor must identify a workforce point of contact to ensure the implementation of the Workforce Plan
  2. Outreach & Engagement
    1. Approach and plan for defined target areas and populations*:
      1. Veterans
      2. Target Neighborhoods
      3. Graduated of DCCP-approved pre-apprenticeship programs
  3. Training Strategy
    1. 15% of construction hours performed by registered apprentices. Of those:
      1. 3.75% of hours by residents in target areas or from target populations
      2. 3.75% by first-year apprentices
  4. Reporting & Tracking
    1. Contractor must document progress on employing target populations through the following systems:
      1. LCPtracker (Prevailing Wage System)
      2. Connecting Colorado (State Workforce System)

*Target zip codes: 80204, 80205, 80207, 80216, 80219, 80223, 80239, and 80249. Target populations will be revised for the Ordinance starting in 2024.

Pre-Apprenticeship Programs

We believe in pre-apprenticeship programs as a proven equity strategy to expand the construction talent pipeline. To promote the adoption of pre-apprenticeships, DCCP encourages contractors on covered publicly funded projects to employ graduates of DCCP- approved pre-apprenticeship programs. Becoming approved by DCCP benefits pre-apprenticeship graduates through connections to employment opportunities working on high-wage public projects. 

DCCP is pleased to offer its listing of approved pre-apprenticeship programs as of May 2023.

Applications will remain open in a rolling window. We invite providers to submit their pre-apprenticeship program for approval. We will review submitted applications next on June 1, 2024.


Learn more


What is the DCCP Contribution Fund?

Since early 2022, Denver has collected a modest, voluntary contribution with building permit fees to fund youth-focused construction careers and talent development efforts in the Denver Public School (DPS) system. Permit customers have the option to provide a contribution of $25 for residential permits and $200 for commercial permits. Permit customers who do not wish to make a contribution have the option to opt out.

The contribution fund is expanding education opportunities for DPS students interested in or curious about construction careers. It supports expanded industry-based curricula, paid internships and career exposure for Denver youth, and work-based learning/apprenticeship pathways into the construction industry. Learn more about the contribution fund.

Jobseekers: Why a construction career?

The Denver construction industry has a high demand for qualified and capable construction talent at all levels. Experts at Colorado State University’s Department of Construction Management estimate that by 2025 there will be 96,000 vacancies in the construction trades statewide--a 38% increase over today!

Economists say the problem was caused by a perfect storm: record low unemployment, an aging workforce, the narrative that everyone must go to college, massive layoffs of construction workers during the recession who never returned, a lack of affordable housing, and a huge demand for construction work across Colorado. This is why the city is committed to the Construction Careers Program.

Today, there is a growing resource of apprenticeship and training/upskilling opportunities, as well as supportive services, that can help jobseekers start and maintain a sustainable construction career.

To get started, check out WORKNOW!

WORKNOW is a job recruitment, advancement and support platform for Denver metro families living in neighborhoods directly affected by community construction projects. WORKNOW also partners with communities to help build a strong workforce by providing jobseekers and current construction workers with:

  • Skills training and tuition assistance for registered apprenticeships
  • Equipment/tool purchase assistance
  • Interview and resume coaching (some partners provide apprenticeship application support)
  • Recruitment for open positions and training programs
  • Family support services including childcare, transportation and others
  • Mentoring and networking
  • Career coaching

Always keep your profile up to date, and search newly posted jobs, in Connecting Colorado, the statewide public database of both current openings as well as available talent. 

Jobseekers: Registered apprenticeships

Many of the city-funded construction projects in the Construction Careers Program require a certain percentage of the workforce to be registered apprentices. Within that, a certain percentage are required to be first-year apprentices.

This is an excellent opportunity for you to become an apprentice!

There are many benefits to entering a registered apprenticeship program. One of the best benefits is that you “earn as you learn,” which means you receive a paycheck from day one! Other benefits include:

  • Increased skills
  • Higher wages
  • National credential
  • Career advancement pathway

The best way to find your Denver area apprenticeship is through WORKNOW. You can also explore apprenticeships statewide through Build Colorado

Employers: Resources for you

Contractor Resource Guide
This guide contains additional Denver Construction Careers Program information and tips to support your success. 

Apprenticeship Resource Guide
This booklet contains information on registering a new apprenticeship program, joining an existing registered apprenticeship program, and accessing registered apprenticeship support/resources. 

Colorado Department of Labor and Employment
Apprenticeship Colorado — Guidelines and requirements are available from the State CDLE Office of the Future of Work on current registered apprenticeships available in Colorado. 

Build Colorado
This is a joint project managed by the local Associated General Contractors of Colorado and Colorado Contractors’ Association. 

U.S. Department of Labor Apprenticeship Toolkit
We recommend this valuable online guide.

Connecting Colorado
Employers are enouraged to use this free, statewide public resource as a tool to advertise their job openings, search for candidates, and reach out to applicants directly.

DEDO's Division of Small Business Opportunity (DSBO)
DSBO works closely with hundreds of small, minority and women-owned businesses in Denver to help them build the relationships and capacity needed to participate on city construction, professional services, and goods and services contracts.

DEDO's "Build Your Business" Resources
From encouraging aspiring or existing entrepreneurs, to making small loans, to helping next-stage firms expand, we're here to serve all area businesses. You'll find a wealth of free advisory sessions, workshops, and tools.

IRS Work Opportunity Tax Credit
Explore the potential tax credits for firms who hire workers from certain targeted groups, such as veterans. 

Employers: Tap into WORKNOW

Denver's unique WORKNOW collaboration came together because of a shared commitment across public, private, and nonprofit sector stakeholders to ensuring that families living in communities directly affected by construction projects benefit from them.

The WORKNOW partners, known as the Colorado Resource (CORE) Partners, include organizations that integrate construction industry job training and community resource partners for comprehensive construction workforce readiness and career success. 

We strongly encourage employers and service providers to engage with WORKNOW to support your project though activities, outreach, and possible involvement on their committees.

Services you can access through WORKNOW include:

  • Networking events with project contractors, signatory unions, and apprenticeship programs;
  • Job fairs specific to your project;
  • Training for your new and current employees; and
  • Support for “earn and learn” pathways like registered apprenticeship and on-the-job training positions.

WORKNOW also partners with communities to help build a strong workforce by providing jobseekers and current construction workers with:

  • Skills Training and tuition assistance for registered apprenticeships
  • Equipment/tool purchase assistance
  • Interview and resume coaching (some partners provide apprenticeship application support)
  • Recruitment for open positions and training programs
  • Family support services including childcare, transportation, and others
  • Mentoring and networking
  • Career coaching

Learn more about WORKNOW today.