Text Size: A A A

Gov. Hickenlooper Announces $9.5 Million to Launch Statewide Youth Apprenticeship and Career Readiness Programs

Bloomberg Philanthropies and JPMorgan Chase invest in programs to expand youth pathways to high-demand, good-paying jobs.

September 14, 2016 (Denver, CO) – Gov. John Hickenlooper announced today that Bloomberg Philanthropies and JPMorgan Chase & Co. have together committed $9.5 million to CareerWise Colorado (formerly Business and Schools in Collaboration, or BASIC), a new statewide apprenticeship system for high school students, and Denver Public Schools’ (DPS) CareerConnect.

Partnering with the state, Bloomberg Philanthropies committed $5.5 million to CareerWise and JPMorgan Chase dedicated $4 million to Denver Public Schools Foundation for a pilot program that equips the district’s high school students with high-demand skills for lucrative careers and postsecondary opportunities in Colorado’s leading industries.

U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez joined Hickenlooper during the announcement to highlight the Obama administration’s work in supporting youth apprenticeships and experiential learning.

"In order to create shared prosperity for all Americans, we need to help more people access the skills and training they need to compete for the jobs of today and tomorrow. Apprenticeships are a tried and true training strategy that offer a path to the middle class and expand opportunities for working people,” said Perez. "The learn-while-you-earn model is instrumental to the competitiveness of our businesses, the strength of our economy and the future of our workforce. I applaud Colorado for making the investments that will help usher shared prosperity in the 21st century."

“Colorado is known as a national leader for innovative strategies to increase student achievement and improve opportunities for students once they finish high school,” Hickenlooper said. “This is an example of businesses coming together with schools that will help build better pathways to good careers and give more students access to the middle class. It will be an option for students from cities and towns across Colorado and for students who want to start their careers right away or want to pursue a college degree. They will all benefit from work experience and earning money along the way.”

As growing industries in Colorado have an increased need to find skilled workers who can compete at a global level, the apprenticeship program will lead to a direct path for youth in the state to access higher education and well-paying jobs in high-demand industries.

“We need to unleash our capacity for stronger, broader long-term growth by ensuring all young people are given the opportunity to acquire the skills needed for their future success and to support the competitiveness of our industries,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies. “To do this, businesses and educators must work together to ensure the skills being taught match those needed – not just for today's workforce, but in the workforce of tomorrow. That's exactly what this partnership in Colorado seeks to achieve.”

Bloomberg Philanthropies is investing in a series of new, innovative career and technical education pilots around the country. All pilots feature strong local leadership and robust partnership across education, industry, government and non-profit sectors. The goal is to create a clear, comprehensive evidence base and increased capacity to replicate at scale the best of what works.

“We have a moral responsibility to do what we can to give our young people the best chance to succeed after high school,” said Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO, JPMorgan Chase. “Our investment in Denver’s youth will provide them with greater opportunities for meaningful employment and long-term economic success.”

Students in their last two years of high school will be eligible to participate in CareerWise Colorado beginning in the fall of 2017. The program will begin with 250 apprentices and grow to serve about 20,000 students, or 10 percent of eligible high school students in the state, within 10 years.

Participating students will spend up to half of their time on-site with employers while still earning credit toward high school graduation and post-secondary credentials toward a two-year degree. An additional year of apprenticeship post-graduation will further prepare students to enter the workforce directly or continue their post-secondary education at a community or four-year college. Apprentice students will be employees of partner businesses and paid a training wage for the time they are at work.

CareerWise Colorado will build on the success of existing programs like DPS CareerConnect, which has been a statewide and national leader in providing students with project-based learning for career exploration, coaching, internships and college coursework to better prepare students for college and careers.

JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s $4 million commitment, which is part of the firm’s global $75 million, five-year New Skills for Youth initiative to strengthen career education and create pathways to economic success for young people, will enhance CareerConnect to expand the program to include Denver’s K-8 students, and will initiate a bold, new apprenticeship model called CareerResidency. Currently, DPS CareerConnect serves more than 6,000 Denver students and helps them develop the skills and education for opportunities in Colorado’s engineering, tech, biomedical, advanced manufacturing and finance industries, and with this grant, plans to reach 9,000 students over the next three years.

“The work that this funding supports will provide a bridge to districts in the metro area and across Colorado,” said DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg. “We are excited to expand our own offerings to prepare students for successful careers and to share what we’ve learned through programs like CareerConnect with students from all over the state,” Boasberg continued.

The Daniels Fund, Markle Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation have provided additional funds to support the youth apprenticeship system, along with support from the State of Colorado. This brings the total level of financial support for the program to more than $11 million.

“Currently Colorado has an estimated 25,000 weekly job vacancies in high-growth industries that go unfilled because of a lack of skilled workers, costing the state over $300 million in lost GDP,” said Noel Ginsburg, chairman and CEO of Intertech Plastics.

“Business can play a critical role in education that goes far beyond simply advising educators. By extending the classroom into our places of business, we can become producers, not just consumers, of the education system. The apprenticeship model will provide greater choice and opportunity for students in fulfilling their future career goals, while at the same time addressing the critical skills gap in business and industry, enabling them to better compete in the global economy,” Ginsburg added.

Ginsburg chairs the Business Experiential-Learning (BEL) Commission established by Hickenlooper to work with the Colorado Workforce Development Council. Their partnership is focused on building business-led experiential learning opportunities like youth apprenticeships.

“There will be growth and tangible benefit for all who participate in this program,” said Kent Thiry, DaVita chairman and CEO. “That benefit extends to everyone from the apprentices to the business community and the city of Denver with its expanding workforce in need of diverse talent.”

In its first year, students will be placed in apprenticeships with leading Colorado companies working in one of four pathways including advanced manufacturing, business operations, financial services and information technology. As the program expands into more schools and communities and new businesses develop apprentices, additional pathways will be added.

“My experience at Mikron has been great. I’ve learned about working at a company doing advanced manufacturing and it has given me the chance to gain skills that are going to help me in college and in my full-time career,” said Selena Elekovic, a student at Cherry Creek High School. “Now I know that I want to study mechanical engineering and go into that field after college. I’m excited that even more students are going to have this sort of apprenticeship in the future.”

About CareerWise Colorado

CareerWise Colorado is building a statewide system of youth apprenticeships that create pathways for students to access high-demand, high-paying careers at leading Colorado companies. Student apprentices also work toward high school graduation and earn postsecondary credit or industry credentials in their chosen career path. Established by the Business Experiential-Learning (BEL) Commission created by Gov. John Hickenlooper and chaired by Noel Ginsburg of Intertech Plastics, CareerWise Colorado will launch 250 apprenticeships in 2017 in school districts in metro Denver, the Western Slope and Colorado’s Eastern Plains. 20,000 youth apprentices, or about 10 percent of Colorado students in their last two years of high school, are expected to participate by 2027. More information about CareerWise Colorado is available at www.careerwisecolorado.org/.

About Bloomberg Philanthropies

Bloomberg Philanthropies works in more than 120 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s charitable activities, including his foundation and his personal giving. In 2015, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed over half a billion dollars. For more information, please visit bloomberg.org or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter@BloombergDotOrg.

About Denver Public Schools

Denver Public Schools is among the nation’s fastest-growing large urban school districts, serving more than 90,000 students in 200 schools. Under the leadership of a reform-minded school board and Superintendent Tom Boasberg, the district is nationally recognized as a leader in school choice, empowering teachers to lead through its Teacher Leadership and Collaboration model, and sustained year-over-year student academic growth. In spring 2016, DPS hosted its largest graduating class in history. Learn more at www.dpsk12.org.

About Denver Public Schools CareerConnect

Denver Public Schools CareerConnect provides more than 6,000 Denver students with rigorous, career-focused classes and connects them with 160+ partner companies and colleges for hands-on workplace experiences and mentoring. Students can make lasting connections with professionals, see how core subjects such as math and writing are used in cutting-edge industries and earn college credits. Through experiential learning initiatives like CareerX Industry Exploration Events, CareerCoach mentoring, CareerLaunch internships, or the new CareerResidency apprenticeship program, students are prepared for higher education and a wide variety of careers in Colorado’s highest-opportunity industries. More information is available at www.dpscareerconnect.org.

About Denver Public Schools Foundation

Denver Public Schools Foundation is Denver Public Schools’ fundraising partner, generating resources, building relationships and championing public education to impact system-wide achievement to realize the vision of Every Child Succeeds. The DPS Foundation engages the entire community in support of DPS’ more than 90,000 students and nearly 200 schools. More information is available at www.dpsfoundation.org.

About JPMorgan Chase & Co.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is a leading global financial services firm with assets of $2.5 trillion and operations worldwide. The Firm is a leader in investment banking, financial services for consumers and small businesses, commercial banking, financial transaction processing, and asset management. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, JPMorgan Chase & Co. serves millions of consumers in the United States and many of the world's most prominent corporate, institutional and government clients under its J.P. Morgan and Chase brands. Information about JPMorgan Chase & Co. is available at www.jpmorganchase.com.