Child Care Task Force Releases Recommendations Addressing Affordable Child Care in Larimer County

Engagement from business, community and early childhood leaders is key 

The Talent 2.0 Child Care Task Force is recommending seven ways to address the lack of affordable child care, which has been deemed a challenge employers face when attracting and retaining workers. These recommendations and more are in the report “Recommendations to Address the Need for Additional Affordable Child Care in Larimer Countyreleased earlier this year.

Along with lack of affordable child care, the Talent 2.0 Regional Workforce Strategy (2017) also identified housing attainability and the cost of transportation as additional challenges employers face. The Talent 2.0 Child Care Task Force was formed in June 2018 to develop strategies that address the child care issue, identify changes to the current system and address the issue of child care gaps.

“This group of dedicated volunteers worked over a period of just six months to develop an extensive number of recommendations and strategies that can change the landscape of child care in Larimer County,” stated Mary Atchison, consultant at Yellow Wagon Leadership and facilitator of the Talent 2.0 Child Care Task Force. “These strategies, when implemented, will help businesses and families be more successful. They will also support the developmental needs of our children.”


  1. Establish a Larimer County Child Care Work Group, including strategic stakeholders from across the community, to continue the work of the Talent 2.0 Child Care Task Force and to implement the recommended strategies.
  2. Recruit and retain a highly trained and qualified early care and education (ECE) workforce that is paid a competitive wage.
  3. Educate and engage employers around the impact of child care on the workforce.
  4. Collect and analyze updated data about the impact of child care on employment and families.
  5. Conduct a public education campaign incorporating the results of data collection.
  6. Broaden and develop new and diverse funding streams for all aspects of early care and education, including public, private and philanthropic resources.
  7. As part of a comprehensive child care solution for children ages 0 – 5, continue to explore options to institute universal preschool across Larimer County utilizing existing providers and space to accommodate all 3 and 4-year-old students.

See the full report HERE

“This report was produced by a team of leaders within child care, government, education, and the business industry. The child care issue in Northern Colorado directly effects our economy and job growth,” said Eric Lea, Vice President / Branch Manager with Robert Half and serves on the Talent 2.0 Child Care Task Force. “We came away with some ideas that we need to continue to tackle (in order) to move the needle. I was honored to be a part of this working group and know if we bring the right people to the table we can show progress.”

Now that the report has been accepted by the Talent 2.0 Steering Committee, the Child Care Task Force will reconvene to determine the next steps that need to be taken to begin implementation of these recommendations. The goal is to partner with other interested groups and the business community to ensure that these recommendations move forward.


About Talent 2.0

Actively support employers in finding, attracting and retaining the talent they need by connecting regional employers with residents and residents with better economic opportunities. Visit

Talent 2.0 Partners

City of Fort Collins Economic Health Department
City of Loveland Economic Development Department
Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce
Larimer County Economic Development Department
Larimer County Workforce Center
Loveland Chamber of Commerce
Northern Colorado Economic Alliance
United Way of Larimer County

About Northern Colorado Prospers and Align, Attract and Retain Talent

Northern Colorado Prospers (NCP) is a five-year strategic initiative of the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce designed to address four specific challenges facing business in Northern Colorado. Fix North I-25; Align, attract and retain talent; Bold voice of business and Retain and expand existing business. For more information, visit


Goal 2: Align, Attract and Retain Talent

The region needs a dynamic labor market that provides employers with the workforce they need both today and in the future. More than ever before, successful communities will be those whose employers can find talent and whose residents can find jobs that let them work to their full potential. The Chamber will implement strategies to ensure a competitive advantage for area employees through quality workers and for area workers through quality jobs.

About the Fort Collins Area Chamber

The Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce is a local association of 1,250 businesses and organizations that care about the region’s future. The Chamber works to build our region’s future through business. The Chamber believes successful businesses make a strong local economy, which lets our community afford a great quality of life. To that end, the Chamber serves as a convener and cultivator of leaders and influencers, a catalyst for business growth and a champion for a balanced, resilient, thriving economy. For more information about the Chamber, call (970) 482-3746 or visit

Transportation Commission Approves Additional $310M for North I-25!

The Colorado Transportation Commission voted Thursday morning to preliminarily commit up to $310M in available funding to deliver the full and necessary funding to build the I-25 North Express Lanes between Fort Collins and Loveland.
The express lanes between SH 14 in Fort Collins to SH 402 south of Loveland are a part of the  North I-25 Express Lanes: Johnstown to Fort Collins project and were originally slated as temporary infrastructure improvements. The new funds would provide the full funding to build the permanent infrastructure that will last 20-30 years versus the original 10-year plan. Thursday’s funding commitment saves the State $250M over the long-term.
The Fix North I-25 Business Alliance and North I-25 Coalition, organizations that represent the business community and local governments of the Northern Colorado region, have worked together to support and testified Thursday for the full funding of the permanent alignment. Click here for the joint letter to the Commission.
“Northern Colorado business and government leaders were united in urging the Commission to approve the additional funding. This is a smart investment that will deliver significant returns on investment for the state and the region,” said Fix North I-25 Business Alliance lobbyist Sandra Hagen Solin. “The Commission’s decision yesterday reflects their ongoing commitment to the state’s infrastructure and its economic health. We are very grateful for the investment in Colorado’s future.”
“This is a major development, one we have been working on for a while,” said David May, Chair of the Fix North I-25 Business Alliance and President of the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce. “While we appreciated the commitment to get more capacity on North I-25 with the interim project, this is a much wiser use of limited state transportation funds. We appreciate the decision by the Commission for both our area and for being good stewards of state money.”
Both May and Solin singled out District 5 Transportation Commissioner Kathy Gilliland for advocating for North I-25 in general but particularly for this change.
“A lot of people are focused on North I-25, too many to name here, but the area CDOT staff, the CDOT executive team, and Commissioner Gilliland understand the importance of this project and advocated for this change,” said Solin.
Your investment in Northern Colorado Prospers helps with the lobbying and advocacy efforts for securing the necessary funds to widen North I-25 between Fort Collins and Longmont. Northern Colorado Prospers investors have largely underwritten the lobbying, media relations, and research work of the Fix North I-25 Business Alliance.
About the I-25 North Express Lanes: Johnstown to Fort Collins Project:
  • A now permanent third lane in both directions from SH 402 south of Loveland to SH 14 in Fort Collins
  • Replacement of aging bridges and widening of others
  • Improvement of bus service performance by adding new bus slip ramps
  • Creation of pedestrian and bicycle access under I-25 at Kendall Parkway
  • Connection of the Cache la Poudre River Regional Trail under I-25
  • The project is scheduled to be completed by early 2022.
  • For more information, click here.

2019 NCP Annual Summit Recap and Resources

The Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce hosted the second annual Northern Colorado Prospers (NCP) Summit during the morning of April 10 at the Lory Student Center on the Colorado State University Campus.

More than 60 NCP investors attended the event to receive updates on the NCP four initiatives, which included the reveal of the new talent portal

This key tool can now be used by employers in the region to recruit quality workers and for job seekers across the country to find a good job, home and quality of life in Northern Colorado.
“Talent is the top issue for most employers in the two-county region. Many of them have asked for better recruitment information and tools,” said David May, Chamber President & CEO. “ is a direct response to those requests. It has a rich amount of information targeted at job seekers. In fact, the central focus of the site is jobs.”

The Northern Colorado Talent 2.0 Coalition deemed this site necessary. The Chamber hired Development Counsellors International (DCI), a place-marketing firm to develop this site. After the discovery process of surveying and interviewing employers, DCI went to work on creating a user-friendly site, while developing unique features, including geotargeting, area mapping and productive job search functionalities.
“The site is the product of a lot of time and input by dozens of people – area chambers, economic workforce development professionals and human resource departments,” said Ann Hutchison, Chamber Executive Vice President and Manager of the Talent 2.0 initiative. “Then there’s the team at DCI who built the site for us. We needed people who were experts at place-marketing, and we had that with DCI.”
Funding for the talent portal came from Northern Colorado Prospers, the 5-year key strategic initiative of the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce.
“Align, attract and develop talent is one of the four strategic goals of Northern Colorado Prospers. Telling our region’s story to existing and potential new workers is a top priority. is a great start,” said Kevin Unger, President of Poudre Valley Hospital and Medical Center of the Rockies and Chair of Northern Colorado Prospers.
The Chamber will conduct a social and media campaign to drive traffic to the new talent portal. You can help increase the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) by visiting the site frequently, sharing it with your HR departments as another recruitment tool and forwarding this information to your contacts.
Thank you for your support in the development and execution of this portal. We look forward to sharing more about the features, usability and metrics in the future.

Click here to grab and tag yourself in more photos!

Photos courtesy zebrajellyfish Photography

Fortune: These Are the Top Skills Businesses and Job Recruiters Are Looking for Most in 2019

LinkedIn just published its annual “Top Skills” list, which analyzes data across the professional social network in order to rank which skills are both in high-demand and low-supply.

The Microsoft-owned brand happens to be releasing the news at the turn of the new year as employees often start the year with resolutions to learn new skills and establish better work habits.

Specifically, these latest rankings address hard skills and “soft skills,” the latter of which can be translated to skills that cannot be replicated or performed via artificial intelligence. (So maybe your job isn’t prey to the robots just yet.)

Framed another way, these are the skills that employees could consider the most worth learning in 2019. LinkedIn Learning editor Paul Petrone wrote in a blog post this week that 57% of senior leaders on the platform today say soft skills are more critical to their businesses than hard skills.

At the same time, there are definitely spikes in job postings recruiting for prospective hires with specialized training and skills revolving around A.I. and cloud computing. That’s just the reality of the business world today. But LinkedIn suggests that digital workplaces are producing new needs and uses for “old” skill sets. Podcasts are a prime example of a digital medium growing exponentially relying on a number of established verticals, from audio production to marketing.

Here’s a rundown on the top five for each category, as defined by LinkedIn based on internal data.

Click here to continue reading.

Business News Daily: 4 Ways to Be a Better Boss to Working Parents

Working parents can get it done. They can get things done at work with kids to take care of on top of it. Packing lunches, school drop-offs and pickups, and sports practices to a non-parent seems nearly impossible to accomplish on their own, let alone with a full-time job to worry about.

One place where that isn’t always praised is at work, but it doesn’t have to be that way. While leniency is a fine line for parents versus non-parents, there are ways to be a better boss to working parents.

Click here to continue reading.

Advanced Energy Partnering with FRCC to Create New Center for Integrated Manufacturing

Lab Development Funding Provided to Support the Much-Needed Addition of Industry Professionals to the Local Workforce

FORT COLLINS, Colo., Dec. 12, 2018— Advanced Energy Industries, Inc. (Nasdaq: AEIS), a global leader in highly engineered, precision power conversion, measurement, and control solutions and Front Range Community College (FRCC), Colorado’s largest community college, today announced a partnership to help fund the college’s new Center for Integrated Manufacturing(CIM).

AE will invest $200,000 in cash and equipment to fund the creation of the Advanced Energy Electronics Lab at the CIM. The 27,000 square-foot CIM facility will offer students a state-of-the-art lab and classroom facilities to enhance their learning experience, allowing them to gain a hands-on career understanding prior to entering the workforce full-time. In addition to this donation, AE will provide students internships, scholarships and job opportunities.

Meeting the Need

“There is a shortage of advanced manufacturing professionals in Colorado’s workforce,” said Andy Dorsey, president of Front Range Community College. “In partnerships with companies like Advanced Energy, we can educate skilled workers to help the state economy thrive.”

Around 6,000 manufacturers currently operate in Colorado, employing 5.5 percent of the state’s workforce. These companies also account for 93 percent of the state’s exports and 7.3 percent of the state’s Gross Domestic Product.

“Front Range Community College is committed to manufacturing and engineering technology,” said U.S. Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado, who visited manufacturer Hirsh Precision Products in Niwot with FRCC officials earlier this year. “Colorado is leading the way in encouraging high-quality career and technical education programs to train the next generation of workers for success in the 21st century.”

“I’m thrilled Advanced Energy is partnering with Front Range Community College to create the new high-tech Center for Integrated Manufacturing,” said U.S. Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado. “This partnership will provide the skills necessary to build a world-class manufacturing workforce right here in Colorado, and I’m excited to see the results of this new program. The need for a skilled workforce is something employers around Colorado talk about – this addresses the need.”

Click here to continue reading.

Bringing Business Home Campaign Launched

Under the ‘Bold Voice of Business’ goal of Northern Colorado Prospers is a strategy to ‘maintain communications with the public that emphasizes the important of business to a strong quality of life.’ To that end, the Chamber has launched Bringing Business Home .

The focus of this public campaign is to create a greater awareness and understanding of the Fort Collins business community. By featuring Chamber members and their businesses, we hope to help make the connection between business success, economic vitality of the community, and our ability to afford great public quality of life amenities.

As defined in the campaign messaging, Northern Colorado is a special place. Natural beauty, great climate, excellent education, vibrant recreation-we’re privileged to have it all. Local employers make it possible for us to live and raise families here. You’ll find them nurturing community both within and outside their workplaces. Meet a group of proud Northern Coloradans committed to Bringing Business Home.

The Chamber’s campaign partner, Jet Marketing has helped capture and present these business stories. You will find them in the paper, online, on the radio and pictured on one of the most visible billboards in Fort Collins.

Help us emphasize the vital contribution business makes to the community by:

Fort Collins Named One of the 2018 10 Best Places to Raise a Family in the U.S.

Fort Collins has been named one of the 2018 10 Best Places to Raise a Family by

To determine the 10 Best Places to Raise a Family, Livability’s data scientists first analyzed all U.S. cities with a population between 20,000 and 300,000 and weeded out places with high childcare costs and low Great Schools scores.

The list was created by cross-referencing 2018 city population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division with data from Great Schools, the Center for Neighborhood Technology, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation/University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

All in all, Livability data scientists and editors analyzed more than 2,000 cities based on the following criteria in order to determine the 2018 10 Best Places to Raise a Family:

  • Number of potential playmates (percent of the population that is under age 6)
  • Quality of public schools
  • Measures of children’s health
  • Affordability of housing and transportation options
  • Cost of childcare
  • Number of daycare options, parks and libraries
  • Walkability and other factors related to the physical environment
  • And, because we know what really matters to kids: the number of candy stores

And, finally, our editorial experts weighed in to give the list our Livability stamp of approval.

“This year’s Best Places to Raise a Family list highlights some famously family-friendly cities and some gems you might never have heard of,” says Winona Dimeo-Ediger,’s Managing Editor. “To get to the heart of what makes a city great for families, we combined rigorous data collection and ranking criteria with personal testimonials from these cities’ most important residents: kids.”

About explores what makes small to mid-sized cities great places to live, work and visit. We examine issues such as affordability, cultural amenities and talent attraction, and celebrate the accomplishments of these cities through our monthly top 10 lists, our annual ranking of the Top 100 Best Places to Live, and daily articles exploring the who, what, why and how behind the “where.” is a division of Journal Communications, Inc. 

October 2018 NCP Quarterly Update – Recap & Resources

The Chamber hosted the Northern Colorado Prospers (NCP) Quarterly Update during the morning of October 10 at the Ranch Bar & Grill at the Budweiser  Events Center.

More than 50 investors were in attendance to receive an update on progress being made on the region’s key challenges: transportation, labor force, business environment and retaining key employees.

The morning included an update on the creation of a regional talent portal and Susan Brake (Vice President for DCI)  provided insight into the Talent Attraction industry and how our efforts in Northern Colorado will fit into the nation-wide picture of Talent Attraction

Sandra Solin, Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance (NCLA) lobbyist, presented on the two transportation measures (Proposition  109 and Proposition 110) on the fall ballot. She also gave an update on North Interstate 25 projects and funding.

More updates and information can be found in the October 2018 Quarterly Update publication.

Northern Colorado Prospers (NCP) is a five-year strategic initiative of the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce designed to address four specific challenges facing business in Northern Colorado. Fix North I-25; Align, attract and retain talent; Bold voice of business and Retain and expand existing business.

Photos courtesy of Zebrajellyfish Photography

Transportation Leaders Help Break Ground on I-25 North Express Lanes

Transportation leaders, elected officials and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) broke ground Monday morning on the I-25 North Express Lanes: Johnstown to Fort Collins project.

The project, estimated to conclude in early 2022, will:

  • Increase highway capacity by adding an Express Lane in both directions
  • Replace aging bridges and widen others
  • Improve bus service performance and reduce each total trip time by 15 minutes by adding new bus slip ramps from I-25 to the new Park-n-Ride at Kendall Parkway
  • Create new pedestrian and bicycle access under I25 at Kendall Parkway
  • Connect the Cache la Poudre River Regional Trail under I-25 and network to 100 miles of trails, and also serve as a wildlife corridor.

“We know without question societies flourish with unobstructed travel. When you have logistical connections good things happen and your economy keeps growing,” said Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper.

Five years ago, CDOT, leaders from Weld and Larimer counties, Berthoud, Fort Collins, Johnstown, Loveland, Timnath, Windsor and McWhinney came together to find ways to fix congestion, safety and travel times on North I-25.

“When I first started with this project, I was told you cannot put funding in that and we won’t ever get that built. In 2018, we are here to kickoff this project,” said Johnny Olson, CDOT Regional Transportation Director. “This project is going to be important to Northern Colorado (improving) congestion, mobility. With our partners and everyone in the audience today, this is an amazing feat and I’m fortunate to be proud of it.”

The Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance (NCLA) and it’s Fix North I-25 initiative also played a crucial role to secure funding, communicate the economic importance of a functional I-25 corridor and empowered businesses and the public to get involved.

“This day has been a long time coming. This roadway is critically important to the safety, quality of life and economy of Northern Colorado,” said David May, Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce President & CEO and member of Fix North I-25 steering committee.

May thanked the transportation commission, CDOT and town and city leaders.

“I want to thank the business community. We have 100 investors who have put in dollars for our efforts. They clearly get this and stepped up behind us in a big way,” said May.

The Ground Breaking Ceremony was held at the Colorado 402 exit near a gravel hill deemed Mount 402. The materials that will be used for the project where taken from the debris from the 2013 flood in the Big Thompson Canyon.

For more information on the I-25 North Express Lanes: Johnstown to Fort Collins project, costs and how to sign up for updates, click here.

Photos Courtesy of Zebrajellyfish Photography