Apprenticeship Evolution


CareerWise created a statewide youth apprenticeship model that coordinates the existing systems of industry and education that creates real, tangible benefit for both the employer and the apprentice. The net result is a workforce with the skills Colorado’s industry needs, and students have illuminated pathways to higher education and career.

Colorado Succeeds

The Salida School District’s building trades apprenticeship program, launched in 2015, enables students to work directly with local businesses to build affordable housing for local teachers. Students gain marketable, real-world skills while local industry builds a sustainable local talent pipeline. Through it all, they produce a vital resource for both the school district and the greater community. Just one year later, the Incentives for Industry Credentials bill and additional funding helped supercharge Salida’s building trades program, supporting a partnership with Colorado Mountain College that allows students to earn an industry-recognized credential. Colorado Succeeds championed this policy, which became law in 2016, to prepare more students for Colorado’s growing, middle-skill jobs. Colorado Succeeds hosted a workshop for 14 school districts, including Salida, to support them in leveraging the new law. Salida superintendent David Blackburn won $10,000 while presenting his idea for implementing the law locally. “I am literally out there pounding nails with kids. We need more capacity, someone who can help us credential kids and work with Colorado Mountain College to get the program going,” said Blackburn. His goal: To establish a strong, rooted program “that will live on beyond me.”