Industry Connections

Education’s connection to top industries

Innovation permeates Colorado’s entire ecosystem.  So it’s no surprise that the private sector and educational institutions have created innovative partnerships that benefit both students and companies.  They’re part planning for the workforce gaps of tomorrow, part creating top-tier talent, and part ensuring that we’re all moving forward together.  

Filling the gap

Balancing vocational training with 4-year degrees to fill future workforce gaps

Looking to the future, many industries face the challenge of filling a growing number of positions with qualified talent. In some industries like construction, healthcare, and IT, vocational and trade schools are necessary to fill these gaps in the talent pipeline. Finding a balance between traditional 4-year degrees and vocational programs is a concept already accepted in much of Europe. It will help us build a holistic workforce prepared for future needs, especially in Colorado’s core industries. Vocational and trade school enrollment is on the rise, especially as student debt has reached an all-time high, making 4-year degrees difficult to afford for many in the U.S. Between 1999 and 2014, vocational enrollment nearly doubled from 9.6 million students to 16 million. The average cost for an entire vocational program is around $30,000 versus 4-year programs which can total more than $100,000. __________________________

Future Colorado workforce demands

Colorado industries are expected to add more than 530,000 employees to the workforce, an 18.3% increase between 2018 and 2028.

Colorado industries with largest expected employment growth 2018-2028

Colorado Department of Labor and Employment

Bioscience and healthcare connections

The University of Colorado School of Medicine is the academic arm of the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora.  Its six schools and more than 40 programs serve 4,500 students, significantly adding to the bioscience and healthcare talent pipeline.  The school’s location in the world-renowned University of Colorado Anschutz Medical campus connects students with the Fitzsimons Innovation Community and the companies it fosters as well as the three top-rated hospitals that all have significant medical research efforts.  

Bioscience & Healthcare

Aerospace and defense connections

Aerospace & Defense

Construction connections

The Association of General Contractors of Colorado and the Colorado Contractor’s Association have put significant efforts into creating partnerships, programs, and interest for vocational training to address the construction workforce shortage.  Build Colorado, powered by both organizations, has four workforce development programs.

Photo courtesy of Cherry Creek School District

Cherry Creek Innovation Campus

Cherry Creek Innovation Campus, photo courtesy of Cherry Creek School District

The Cherry Creek Innovation Campus is a stand-alone college and career preparedness facility for high school students in Cherry Creek Schools. With curriculum rooted in real-world skills and trade certifications ranging from the computer sciences to aviation to health sciences, this facility offers students a new kind of bridge to college and viable, successful careers.  Students attend part time while continuing to take classes at their high school.  

The curriculum is rooted in real-world skills and trade certifications for seven pathways that clearly align with Aurora and Colorado industries:

The 117,000-square-foot campus features the latest technology and tools that students need to build applicable expertise in these fields. It includes a working auto garage, an aviation hangar, operating medical facilities and cutting-edge industrial equipment. Cherry Creek Innovation Campus has partnerships with business and industry partners from across the Western U.S. including Subaru, The Boeing Company, and others.  

Cherry Creek School District