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Colorado is facing a shortage of construction workers while at the same time many Denver residents lack access to good paying jobs. Hiring and apprenticeship training goals on city construction projects will both expand the supply of trained workers for Denver's construction industry, as well as provide those who need it most with a living wage job and pathway to a future career.

In early 2019, Councilwoman Kniech, Councilwoman Ortega, and the Mayor’s office outlined new workforce requirements on major projects across the city. The 3-year Denver Construction Career Pilot will target workers in economically disadvantaged areas for job training, placement, and apprenticeship utilization on 15 large city construction projects totaling over $900 million in value. The pilot will provide the city valuable insight on how to best attract new talent to the industry and connect residents with economic opportunities.

A few highlights of the new workforce requirements for pilot projects:

  • Must use targeted outreach, marketing, and training plans.
  • Ensure 15% of all project construction hours are performed by apprentices in registered apprenticeship programs, with one quarter of those coming from targeted backgrounds/communities.
  • Utilization of the WORKNOW platform to recruit, prepare, and place new workers.

The first project utilizing components of the pilot is the Colorado Convention Center, a $200+ million expansion project.

These advancements are informed by successful programs around the country. Industry recognized apprenticeship training programs are an important component in a construction career. Registered apprenticeship programs ensure workers acquire skills that they can take with them to the next job, and progress in their career, eventually acquiring a certificate accepted throughout the United States. Apprenticeships provide on-the-job supervision and training as well as classroom education with an approved curriculum to earn while they learn well-rounded skills that meet industry standards. Also, graduates of such programs become eligible for higher wages, and can progress into middle wage careers.