- Colorado’s low unemployment rate and worker shortage has sparked big-scale partnerships between the state’s colleges and businesses. Throughout the state, the two sectors are working more closely together to ensure learners leave college with the skills to fill vacant jobs in booming sectors and degrees reflect the needs of employers, reports The Hechinger Report.
- The state is putting the finishing touches on a $60 million collaboration with Metropolitan State University in Denver to train workers in advanced manufacturing. Closing the state’s skills gap is also driving the use of labor-market data to ascertain in-demand skills, the push for apprenticeships for high school students, and the development of detailed job descriptions.
- York Space Systems, a satellite maker with large public and private contracts, will be the first tenant in the new Advanced Manufacturing Sciences Institute building at Metropolitan State University in Denver.
Colorado’s space ambitions date to 2002 when students from Weber University in Colorado Springs pitched the idea of a spaceport to the Colorado Space Coalition and the state’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade. Since then, state leaders have pushed forward Colorado's aerospace economy, making it easier for aerospace employers to do business. Colorado's aerospace economy is the second-biggest in the nation after California, bringing in almost $2 billion in revenues in 2015.
Colorado — where the unemployment rate is 2.7 percent, third-lowest in the country, and employers say they’re turning away business because they can’t find workers with the right skills — has become a test case for ways to close the talent gap. The collaboration between the state and its higher education bodies embodies the level of cohesion required to be forward-looking and support the state's economy, demonstrating the public value of higher education at a time in which some are questioning why the public should pay for what's largely seen as a private benefit. While the U.S.continues to shed traditional manufacturing jobs, advanced manufacturing work is surging and is expected to drive a significant portion of the nation's job growth. With average worker earnings in the sector around $130,000, the state’s workforce can make deep economic gains.