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Governor Jared Polis welcomed U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh to Colorado to the state on Wednesday. The visit follows Secretary Walsh’s recent announcement of the Department of Labor’s “Good Jobs Initiative,” a coordinated effort by the Biden-Harris administration to improve job quality nationwide with the implementation of the landmark Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Polis was one of the first governors in the country to support this new law.

“In Colorado, we are focused on creating good jobs, and strengthening our communities and economy through innovative approaches to workforce development, including apprenticeships, so I am proud to welcome Secretary Walsh to our beautiful state. We are making transformative change, growing our existing workforce, and ensuring all workers and families in Colorado can thrive,” said Polis.

U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh. Image courtesy of City of Boston.

Senators Bennet and Hickenlooper joined the governor and Secretary Walsh at Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce to bring awareness to Registered Apprenticeships, prior to touring the Metropolitan State University campus’ advanced aerospace manufacturing lab and discuss the importance of apprenticeship programs to expand job training opportunities and in particular open up access for women and students of color to succeed in any field they choose — from construction and advanced manufacturing to childcare, healthcare, and hospitality.

Polis has signed legislation that sets Colorado on a path to become a State Apprenticeship Agency (SAA), allowing for more flexibility and faster approval when applicants register for programs. Colorado has been awarded more than $11 million in federal expansion grants from The U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL)’s Office of Apprenticeship, and most recently a $10 million State Apprenticeship Expansion, Equity, and Innovation. The Polis administration also negotiated the State’s first labor agreement with Colorado Workers for Innovative and New Solutions (WINS), a union representing more than 31,000 state employees.

On the economic side, Colorado’s unemployment rate is the lowest since the pandemic began; its recovery rate of 89.3 percent exceeds the U.S. rate of 84 percent. Colorado supports more than 34,000 direct private aerospace employees and an aerospace cluster supporting more than 240,000 jobs, Colorado is also home to the highest concentration of private aerospace employment in the nation. Over the past five years, direct employment that sector has grown more than 30 percent statewide.

The state continues to invest in on-the-job training to support our most in-demand jobs in the healthcare, education, transportation, manufacturing, IT, and energy sector. It continues to add to the number of apprenticeship and work-based learning opportunities; up 500 percent over the past three years.

The Polis Administration announced this week that more than 12,000 Colorado adults and youth are learning and training through work-based learning models.