Northern Colorado K20 Pathways to Employment Report Unveiled

In a true regional collaboration, the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce, the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado, and The Weld Trust, in partnership with Colorado Succeeds, proudly announce the public release of the Northern Colorado K20 Pathways to Employment report.

Drafted in response to current and anticipated workforce development challenges, the report outlines what programs and resources exist for learners in Northern Colorado and identifies potential opportunities to support them in achieving career and post-secondary success. The report recognizes proactive workforce development as critical to the long-term vitality of Northern Colorado.

The K20 Pathways to Employment report considers insights from stakeholder interviews with school districts, higher education institutions, Larimer County Economic and Workforce Development, Employment Services of Weld County, and key regional employers.

Notable takeaways include:

  • The Northern Colorado workforce ecosystem is poised to accelerate and scale more efficient and effective pathways to employment.
  • Stakeholders are engaged and motivated to continue strengthening partnerships to improve and expand career-based learning opportunities.
  • A regional approach is needed to ensure talent pipelines are responsive to labor market demands, programs are built with equity and access in mind, and resources are shared beyond school, district, higher education, and municipal boundaries.

The report states the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce, Community Foundation of Northern Colorado, and The Weld Trust are well-positioned to convene, activate, and guide key regional stakeholders across the talent continuum. Funding to support further investment in pathways to employment efforts will be explored across public and private sources as opportunities arise.

These three organizations will host a public meeting Friday, January 20 to discuss findings from the report in greater detail, discuss regional priorities, and provide an update on regional efforts to implement recommendations. The time and venue of this event are to-be-determined. More information will be released in the coming weeks.

To view the Northern Colorado K20 Pathways to Employment report, visit .

Fort Collins Chamber of Commerce media contact: Yvonne Myers, 970.482.3746,

Community Foundation media contact: Claire Bouchard, 970.488.1976,

Progress Update: Northern Colorado Career-Connected Learning Asset Map

The Community Foundation of Northern Colorado and Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce are pleased to announce their partnership with Colorado Succeeds to explore the resources available for career-connected learning in Northern Colorado has reached its first milestone. The purpose of this partnership is to understand what programs and resources already exist and discover new opportunities to support learners in achieving career and post-secondary success in a way that ultimately supports the economic wellbeing of our region.

Colorado Succeeds conducted interviews with education providers throughout Larimer County, as well as the Greeley-Evans school district this summer to learn what services, programs, and plans are in place for career-based learning in our region. Initial education partners who provided input included: Greeley-Evans District 6, Estes School District, Thompson School District, Poudre School District, Colorado Early Colleges, Windsor School District, Front Range Community College, Aims Community College, Colorado State University, and the University of Northern Colorado.

Colorado Succeeds, alongside the Foundation and the Chamber, recently convened stakeholders from these education partners to discuss the initial interview results. Findings indicate Northern Colorado may be positioned well with some activity and collaboration already happening to support career-connected learning. Additionally, several “low-hanging” opportunities exist to better prepare students for in-demand careers which support Northern Colorado’s economic ecosystems.

The education partners in the room demonstrated interest and energy in supporting the overall asset map effort. Partners provided helpful context and shared industry expertise which will inform the next phase of information gathering.

The Weld Trust has since agreed to fund the expansion of the project to include all 13 Weld County school districts. The asset map will be expanded accordingly, with Colorado Succeeds collecting input from the remaining Weld school districts to fully represent Larimer and Weld County education providers.

Colorado Succeeds will prepare a final report of learnings this fall to identify opportunities for regional collaboration which support learners and the economic vitality of Northern Colorado.

Next steps:

  • Interview remaining Weld County school districts to further develop the asset map
  • Discuss with industry leaders the initial findings to ascertain employers’ needs and challenges
  • Solicit input from the Larimer and Weld workforce development directors about their career development programs and alignment with K-16 educators’ programs

Northern Colorado Career-Connected Learning Asset Mapping & Facilitation Support Project

With support of Northern Colorado Prospers, the Fort Collins Area Chamber and the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado have convened the Northern Colorado Career-Connected Learning Asset Mapping & Facilitation Support Project.

This exciting new initiative will map our region’s educational programs, facilities, and opportunities for work-based learning to create a pipeline for local employers. We have selected Colorado Succeeds to facilitate conversations with you, school district superintendents, college, and university leaders to create an Asset Map, Landscape Analysis, and Recommendations for regional workforce development strategies.

Overview of the Project

The Community Foundation of Northern Colorado and the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce are interested in supporting the region and its young people in achieving post-secondary success through partnership and opportunities offered by schools and partners. The exponential growth of these opportunities and interested partners has highlighted the need for more coordination as well as shared understanding of programming assets and gaps.

Through an asset mapping project, the partners seek to define these programs and organize them into an understandable, shareable tool. Facilitated conversations with our education leaders and a landscape analysis will be conducted by Colorado Succeeds, resulting in recommendations and alignment around strategic regional opportunities. The asset map and definitions will be external facing. The landscape analysis and recommendations will be presented to the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado and Fort Collins Chamber. These tools and conversations should also lead to actionable recommendations for student impact in SY 2023-24.

Poudre School District Recognizes Fort Collins Area Chamber for Partnership in Teacher Externship Program

On May 10, 2022, the Poudre School District (PSD) commended the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce for leading the charge in workforce development and exploring creative ways of working with the community and business partners to support students and staff in the district.

The Chamber helped revive the district’s Teacher Externship Program after a two-year hiatus. This program “gives high school and middle school teachers and administrators opportunities to work with local businesses to gain additional expertise in their content area.”

The District shared the following comments about the Chamber in the presentation, “This is a summer program that pays PSD educators to work 40-hours in a business related to their content area and bring their knowledge back to their program or classroom. Yvonne Myers in particular has helped engage sector and business partners to either fund or provide educator externships for this summer, enabling this program to be self-funded and resilient for years to come.”

Myers joined the Chamber team in January to help drive community-wide/regional strategic initiatives developed through Northern Colorado Prospers 2.0, a catalytic initiative for regional economic growth. She focuses much of her time implementing a variety of strategies to support employers in attracting and retaining the talent they need; and ensure a competitive advantage for area employers through quality workers and for workers through quality jobs.

The Chamber will continue to implement a variety of strategies to support employers in attracting and retaining the talent they need to ensure a competitive advantage for area employers through quality workers and for workers through quality jobs.

“We have been a Champion for this talent work since 2017,” said Ann Hutchison, Chamber President & CEO. “Yvonne has created and curated amazing partnerships and resources that can help the entire community succeed.”

Fort Collins Area Chamber Prioritizes Talent

A key priority for your Fort Collins Area Chamber is to implement a variety of strategies to support employers in attracting and retaining the talent they need to ensure a competitive advantage for area employers through quality workers and for workers through quality jobs.

We have been a Champion for this talent work since 2017 and are excited to share resources from our Talent Summit and our Talent Series. Our new VP for Strategic Initiatives, Yvonne Myers, has created and curated amazing resources that can help your business be successful. Your membership and our Northern Colorado Prospers 2.0 Investors allow her to move quickly and effectively for you, the business community.

Make sure to check out the amazing line up of experiences and check out the videos. There are tremendous ideas for all of us to implement to keep and grow our workforce.


WASHINGTON – On September 9, 2021, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $986,157 CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to Larimer County, Colorado, to update and expand workforce development strategies and sector partnerships in the region. This EDA grant, to be matched with $246,539 in local investment, is expected to create 495 jobs.

“The Biden Administration is committed to helping communities across the nation implement strategies to mitigate economic hardships brought on by the coronavirus pandemic,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “This EDA investment will update and expand a regional workforce strategy to help employers develop and retain talent, align education and workforce resources with industry needs, and create good-paying jobs.”

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Colorado Jobs and Labor Force Update: July 2021

The CSI has released its latest report about Colorado jobs and labor force.

Key Findings:

  • Colorado added 14,800 total nonfarm jobs in July. At this pace, the state would reach pre-pandemic employment levels by Jan. ’22. To recover to pre-pandemic employment levels by January 2023—after adjusting for population growth—Colorado needs add 9,202 jobs each month on average.
  • Total employment levels are down 3% or 85,900 jobs relative to pre-pandemic levels, ranking Colorado 16th in terms of July 2021 job levels relative to January 2020.

The #Shecession still looms… The July Labor Force Participation Rate for moms in Colorado was down 7 percentage points from 76.2% in January 2020 to 69.2% in July 2021. If the pre-pandemic LFPR for CO had maintained, there would be 96,155 more women in the labor force today.

Read Full Report

To better support Northern Colorado Prospers (NCP) strategic initiatives, NCP is a member of the Common Sense Institute (CSI), a non-partisan research organization dedicated to the protection and promotion of Colorado’s economy.

With this membership, we have first access to the CSI research, articles, insights and discussions surrounding the business community, with topics including fiscal impacts of policies, initiatives, and proposed laws”

Colorado Jumpstart Incentive

Unemployed Coloradans Who Return to Work are Eligible for an Incentive

On Wednesday, Governor Jared Polis signed an Executive Order creating a new monetary incentive program to support unemployed Coloradans as they return to work full time. Under the Colorado Jumpstart incentive program, unemployed individuals are eligible to receive an incentive of up to $1,600 to support the transition into full-time work.

“Powering the comeback means supporting Coloradans getting back to work and our businesses as they expand,” said Governor Jared Polis. “We know that getting back to work doesn’t mean all the financial challenges Coloradans are facing just disappear, and we want to ensure that as more people are returning to the workforce, we are setting them up for success.”

To be eligible for an incentive, Colorado’s unemployed workers must have received at least one week of unemployment benefits of $25 or more between March 28, 2021 and May 16, 2021 and have verified their identities via A full list of eligibility requirements is posted on Eligible claimants who return to work full time in May will receive a Colorado Jumpstart incentive of $1,600. Those who return to work full time in June will receive an incentive of $1,200.

“More than a year after this pandemic swept through Colorado, we know that many Coloradans are not completely back on their feet just yet. That’s why we are taking this important step to provide support to those who need it most as they transition back into the workforce,” said CDLE Executive Director Joe Barela. “This won’t just help Coloradans, it’s going to help businesses to have a productive workforce, ready to power our economy and comeback.”

Newly employed workers must maintain full-time employment for at least eight weeks to receive the full incentive. The incentive payments are expected to be issued during July and August of 2021 and will be distributed in two installments. Claimants will become eligible for the first half of the incentive after approximately four weeks of full-time employment, and will become eligible for the remaining half after approximately eight weeks.

Claimants currently receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits, workshare claimants, and out-of-state claimants are not eligible for the incentive program.


More Information and Additional Resources:

Colorado Jumpstart Fact Sheet

Employers FAQs

CSU System economic study shows impact on talent retention, jobs, revenue

The three Colorado State University System campuses – and the out-of-state students they attract – fuel nearly 23,000 Colorado jobs and more than $237.74 million in state income and sales tax revenue annually.

In its first-ever Systemwide economic impact study, a team of economists quantified the CSU System’s unique contributions to the Colorado economy in terms of jobs, research, and the contributions of the System’s more than 112,250 living alumni who are currently working in Colorado. Highlights and a full report are available here.

Among the report’s key findings: the CSU System is an important factor in Colorado’s workforce talent retention. About 50% of the students who moved to Colorado to attend a CSU campus since 2005 have stayed here after graduating. And 86% of Colorado residents who attended CSU institutions are still in the state. Nearly 1 in 25 Colorado workers has a degree from a CSU System campus, and their alumni income translates into more than $209 million in state income tax revenue and $128 million in sales, use, and excise tax revenue. In other words, about 3% of the state’s total collections can be attributed to CSU graduates.

The three CSU System campuses – the flagship research university in Fort Collins; CSU Pueblo, a regionally focused Hispanic-serving institution; and the fully online CSU Global – together enroll more than 60,000 new and returning students each year. The CSU System has nearly 300,000 living alumni worldwide.

“Clearly, CSU plays a critical role in our state’s future productivity and ability to remain an innovation hub in economically important industries,” CSU System Chancellor Tony Frank said. “We’re not manufacturing a product; we’re educating people who contribute to society in all the ways educated people do – as teachers, scientists, doctors and nurses, business leaders, manufacturers, technologists, artists, engineers, and the countless other roles that are typically filled by people with higher education.”

The study was conducted by CSU Fort Collins faculty Drs. Rebecca Hill of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Harvey Cutler and Martin Shields of Economics. They were supported by graduate research assistants Lauren Mangus and Kevin Crofton.

“The CSU System’s economic impact is felt statewide by bringing in money from federal agencies, out-of-state students, and by transferring knowledge to businesses and industries across Colorado,” the authors wrote in the report. “The CSU System’s economic impact in Fort Collins and Pueblo includes factors considered in the statewide impact, plus money injected into the region from both state government and students from across the state.”

Among the report’s other highlights:

  • 112,250 CSU System alumni working in the state earned an estimated $7.57 billion from their jobs in 2019 – roughly $2.9 billion more than they could have expected in wages if they’d only finished high school.
  • The overall statewide economic impact of the CSU System translates to roughly 22,785 Colorado jobs and $237.74 million in-state income (individual and corporate) and sales tax revenue that the state would not otherwise have had.
  • CSU Fort Collins’ massive mobilization around COVID-19 research has ranked it in the Top 10 universities in the world working on research and cures related to the virus. Last year, the university’s technology and intellectual property licensing office reported 23 COVID-related inventions.
  • In total, business spin-off and increases in regional productivity stemming from CSU Fort Collins translate into an additional 645 jobs and $25.3 million in household income for the Larimer County economy.

The study noted data from the American Community Survey showing that the average annual earnings for employed Coloradans with a four-year degree were around $70,000, compared to $36,000 average earnings for those with a high-school diploma. College-educated workers are also less likely to be unemployed, less likely to have seen their jobs impacted by the recession, less likely to access public assistance programs, and more likely to have employer-sponsored health insurance.

The study highlighted the tremendous impact CSU campuses have on their local economies.

  • The Fort Collins area receives more than $36 million in local sales and use tax revenues from economic activity related to CSU’s operations, student spending, and university related start-ups and business assistance. Total direct and indirect city employment impacts are estimated at more than 17,300 jobs, out of a total of 84,000 jobs in the city.
  • CSU Fort Collins students not originally from the city spend about $319.1 million dollars a year in the community, which supports 2,700 jobs and $7.9 million in local sales and use tax revenue, either directly or through multiplier effects. This represents about 5% of Fort Collins sales and use tax revenue.
  • CSU Fort Collins is an innovation incubator. In 2020, funded research exceeded $400 million for the first time ever. Start-ups and knowledge spillovers related to CSU Fort Collins generate significant additional local economic activity, translating into an additional 645 jobs and $25.3 million in household income.

The taxpayers of Colorado invest in state colleges and universities, Frank said. This report is a testament to the value those institutions give back.

“Universities contribute to the economy as employers and by spending money to keep our operations functioning, as well as by graduating skilled workers,” Frank said. “We also attract people to Colorado from out of state who spend their dollars here, whether as students, conference attendees, or visiting parents and family members. Thousands of jobs across Colorado that aren’t directly connected to a college or university still depend on these institutions to survive.”

Public colleges and universities can be islands of stability and sustained employment for communities statewide, he added. “We learned from the Great Recession that communities that are home to a college or university rebounded more quickly – and that is a strength for all of Colorado, which has built a system of higher education that is geographically diverse and designed to serve all corners of the state.”

Read the full report here:

Bloomberg: Hard at Work: Prime-Age Americans in Workforce Hits Decade High


  • Labor force participation jumps for women ages 25 to 54
  • Prime-age participation peaked at 84.6% in January 1999

The percentage of people in the U.S. aged 25 to 54 who are employed or actively looking for work has climbed to the highest in a decade as demand in the health-care and education sectors lures more women into the workforce.

Labor force participation in the so-called prime-age group rose to 82.8% in October, matching the rate from August 2009, the Labor Department said in its monthly employment report on Friday. The rate was 82.9% in June 2009, and peaked at 84.6% in January 1999.

Some 76.6% of women in the group were employed or actively looking for work in October, up from 76.2% in the previous month. That was the highest participation rate since 77.3% in April 2000, according to the data. The percentage of similarly-aged men held steady at 89.1% in October.

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