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IN THIS ISSUE

IN THIS ISSUE

The State of the State – Colorado’s Tech Landscape

By Frannie Matthews, President/CEO Colorado Technology Association and Board of Directors ActivateWork

 

Colorado’s tech industry is strong and continues its upward trajectory. The numbers are impressive. IT jobs in our state grew by 22% in the last five years and are predicted to grow across all industries in the next five years by an additional 11%, the sixth highest potential growth rate in the nation.
Technology permeates every facet of our economy; businesses of all sizes require skilled IT talent, but importantly, a critical gating factor for continued tech industry growth is the talent shortage. We need to support the tech industry in Colorado by committing to attracting more people into tech careers and increasing the diversity of the industry. Diversity breeds creativity and innovation and will benefit all sectors in our state.
ActivateWork is helping create a technology talent ecosystem through its rigorous training efforts tapping traditionally underrepresented talent pools. The IT talent pipeline they are creating will address the talent gap we need to fill to support Colorado’s continued tech industry growth and increase earning potential and economic equity for all individuals.
We as Coloradans need to support the efforts of organizations like      ActivateWork to keep our economy strong while reskilling our workforce to provide a clear path to our future growth.

Source: 2022 Colorado Tech Industry Report

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The State of the State – Colorado’s Tech Landscape

By Frannie Matthews, President/CEO Colorado Technology Association and Board of Directors ActivateWork

 

Colorado’s tech industry is strong and continues its upward trajectory. The numbers are impressive. IT jobs in our state grew by 22% in the last five years and are predicted to grow across all industries in the next five years by an additional 11%, the sixth highest potential growth rate in the nation.
Technology permeates every facet of our economy; businesses of all sizes require skilled IT talent, but importantly, a critical gating factor for continued tech industry growth is the talent shortage. We need to support the tech industry in Colorado by committing to attracting more people into tech careers and increasing the

diversity of the industry. Diversity breeds creativity and innovation and will benefit all sectors in our state.
     ActivateWork is helping create a technology talent ecosystem through its rigorous training efforts tapping traditionally underrepresented talent pools. The IT talent pipeline they are creating will address the talent gap we need to fill to support Colorado’s continued tech industry growth and increase earning potential and economic equity for all individuals.
     We as Coloradans need to support the efforts of organizations like ActivateWork to keep our economy strong while reskilling our workforce to provide a clear path to our future growth.

COLORADO’S TECH INDUSTRY

New Tech
Industy Jobs

since 2019

New Tech
Industy Jobs

(2021)

Percentage of Coloradans in Tech

%

Percentage of State Gross Product

%

Colorado Tech
Firms have 7th
fastest growth
rate in U.S.

Apprenticeship: A Bridge to Economic Success for Workers and Industry

By Helen Young Hayes, CEO/Founder ActivateWork

 

I recently joined a delegation of Colorado leaders in Switzerland to learn about the Swiss dual education system. The foundation of the Swiss model is apprenticeship, which combines on-the-job training, a learning wage, and classroom education. An astonishing 70% of high school graduates opt for apprenticeship; only 25% of graduates choose college. Apprentices can and often do pursue college later in life. There are no dead ends; all paths lead to high-skill prosperity.
     Swiss apprenticeships build employer-demanded skills while providing workers with stackable credentials and quick economic independence. The Swiss government spends $4 billion a year on apprenticeship; industry contributes another $7.6 billion, roughly 1% of GDP. Keep in mind, this is for a population of just 8.7 million citizens – about the same as the state of Virginia.
     Contrast that with the U.S. model. Today, nearly 75% of all jobs “require” a four-year degree. The problem is, only 40% of Americans have one.1  It’s more dire here at home. Colorado is the second most educated state, but we import our college graduates. Only 24% of Colorado-born adults earn a degree, but 77% of our top jobs go to those with a bachelor’s designation or higher, resulting in both a skilled worker shortage and untapped homegrown talent.
     Apprenticeship is the surest and shortest path to living wages. U.S. apprentices are paid by their employers to learn in-demand skills while earning a nationally recognized certification. Upon completion, apprentices earn an average of $77,000 a year.2 Compare this with the average college graduate who earns $55,2603 and has a college debt of $45,300.4

Helen Young Hayes with Colorado Delegation in Switzerland

     U.S. apprenticeship fills critical talent shortages while boosting economic prosperity. Why then is apprenticeship only 0.3%5 of the U.S. workforce (and only 0.18% of Colorado’s workforce)?
     Total government funding for apprenticeship is only $400 million6 a year, just 3% of the $14 billion7 spent for workforce services and less than one-third of 1% of the $174.9 billion8 federal spending on higher education. College, the main source9 of publicly funded credentialing, applies to just 40% of Americans.

There are 6,040 activate apprentices across Colorado, a mere 0.18% of the workforce.

     Remember that Swiss investment? If the U.S. government were to invest similarly, it would spend $126 billion a year on apprenticeship, a 300-fold increase, so more Americans have the opportunity for debt-free economic mobility. If the U.S. government were to invest similarly, it would spend $126 billion a year on apprenticeship (a 300-fold increase) to ensure more Americans have the opportunity for debt-free economic mobility.
     With almost two open jobs for every available U.S. worker, we need a radical new approach to expand our skilled workforce and drive prosperity. The U.S. should develop a coordinated ecosystem approach to education and workforce development by funding proven strategies like apprenticeship. Employers should become co-creators of talent to fill their critical shortages.
     ActivateWork is leading the way, with three IT apprenticeships and a fourth in development. Embodying the elements of the successful Swiss model, we are driving economic freedom through the dignity of work.

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Apprenticeship: A Bridge to Economic Success for Workers and Industry

By Helen Young Hayes, CEO/Founder ActivateWork

 

I recently joined a delegation of Colorado leaders in Switzerland to learn about the Swiss dual education system. The foundation of the Swiss model is apprenticeship, which combines on-the-job training, a learning wage, and classroom education. An astonishing 70% of high school graduates opt for apprenticeship; only 25% of graduates choose college. Apprentices can and often do pursue college later in life. There are no dead ends; all paths lead to high-skill prosperity.
    Swiss apprenticeships build employer-demanded skills while providing workers with stackable credentials and quick economic independence. The Swiss government spends $4 billion a year on apprenticeship; industry contributes another $7.6 billion, roughly 1% of GDP. Keep in mind, this is for a population of just 8.7 million citizens – about the same as the state of Virginia.
     Contrast that with the U.S. model. Today, nearly 75% of all jobs “require” a four-year degree. The problem is, only 40% of Americans have one.1  It’s more dire here at home. Colorado is the second most educated state, but we import our college graduates. Only 24% of Colorado-born adults earn a degree, but 77% of our top jobs go to those with a bachelor’s designation or higher, resulting in both a skilled worker shortage and untapped homegrown talent.
     Apprenticeship is the surest and shortest path to living wages. U.S. apprentices are paid by their employers to learn in-demand skills while earning a nationally recognized certification. Upon completion, apprentices earn an average of $77,000 a year.2 Compare this with the average college graduate who earns $55,2603 and has a college debt of $45,300.4

Helen Young Hayes with Colorado Delegation in Switzerland

     U.S. apprenticeship fills critical talent shortages while boosting economic prosperity. Why then is apprenticeship only 0.3%5 of the U.S. workforce (and only 0.18% of Colorado’s workforce)?
     Total government funding for apprenticeship is only $400 million6 a year, just 3% of the $14 billion7 spent for workforce services and less than one-third of 1% of the $174.9 billion8 federal spending on higher education. College, the main source9 of publicly funded credentialing, applies to just 40% of Americans.

There are 6,040 activate apprentices across Colorado, a mere 0.18% of the workforce.

     Remember that Swiss investment? If the U.S. government were to invest similarly, it would spend $126 billion a year on apprenticeship, a 300-fold increase, so more Americans have the opportunity for debt-free economic mobility. If the U.S. government were to invest similarly, it would spend $126 billion a year on apprenticeship (a 300-fold increase) to ensure more Americans have the opportunity for debt-free economic mobility.
     With almost two open jobs for every available U.S. worker, we need a radical new approach to expand our skilled workforce and drive prosperity. The U.S. should develop a coordinated ecosystem approach to education and workforce development by funding proven strategies like apprenticeship. Employers should become co-creators of talent to fill their critical shortages.
     ActivateWork is leading the way, with three IT apprenticeships and a fourth in development. Embodying the elements of the successful Swiss model, we are driving economic freedom through the dignity of work.

STAY TUNED

Over the next six months, we’ll be publishing a series of case studies demonstrating how apprenticeships have benefited Colorado’s tech community and sharing real ROI they’ve experienced.

ActivateWork and CU Denver Lead the Way with Stackable Credentials

by Kathryn Harris, President/COO ActivateWork

 

A critical component of a well functioning apprenticeship model is permeability between higher education and alternative training providers like ActivateWork. Permeability provides the ability to transition between education and training systems, reduces barriers, and increases opportunities for Colorado learners and earners. Freedom to move easily between different types of educational experiences – academic, work-based learning, boot camp, apprenticeship – creates multiple pathways to success through stackable credentials.     
     A partnership with CU Denver allows ActivateWork to provide these stackable experiences and credentials. Earlier this year, CU evaluated our Software Engineering boot camp and determined that learners completing a course certificate with ActivateWork would be awarded 12 credits through the university.
     CU Denver Chancellor Michelle Marks says it best: “Stackable credentials give employees the tools they need to move along

career pathways more quickly. Our partnership with ActivateWork will increase workforce development opportunities in Colorado.”
     Our next step will be to evaluate and articulate our Junior Software Developer apprenticeship pathway for credit as well.

“As Colorado’s only public urban research university, it’s vital that we support learners in all stages of life as well as the employers that need talented workers to be effective in their fields,” said University of Colorado Denver Chancellor Michelle Marks.”

     We applaud CU Denver for putting learners and earners first, building a stronger workforce ecosystem for Colorado, and meeting the needs of Colorado employers.

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ActivateWork and CU Denver Lead the Way with Stackable Credentials

by Kathryn Harris, President/COO ActivateWork

 

A critical component of a well functioning apprenticeship model is permeability between higher education and alternative training providers like ActivateWork. Permeability provides the ability to transition between education and training systems, reduces barriers, and increases opportunities for Colorado learners and earners. Freedom to move easily between different types of educational experiences – academic, work-based learning, boot camp, apprenticeship – creates multiple pathways to success through stackable credentials.
     A partnership with CU Denver allows ActivateWork to provide these stackable experiences and credentials. Earlier this year, CU evaluated our Software Engineering boot camp and determined that learners completing a course certificate with ActivateWork would be awarded 12 credits through the university.
     CU Denver Chancellor Michelle Marks says it best: “Stackable credentials give employees the tools they need to move along career pathways more quickly. Our partnership with ActivateWork will increase workforce development opportunities in Colorado.”
    Our next step will be to evaluate and articulate our Junior Software Developer apprenticeship pathway for credit as well.

“As Colorado’s only public urban research university, it’s vital that we support learners in all stages of life as well as the employers that need talented workers to be effective in their fields,” said University of Colorado Denver Chancellor Michelle Marks.”

We applaud CU Denver for putting learners and earners first, building a stronger workforce ecosystem for Colorado, and meeting the needs of Colorado employers.

Our Numbers Tell the Story

Our Numbers Tell the Story

Advancing equity by providing education and opportunity is at the core of what we do. Our consistent growth in learners, courses, and employer partners is proof that our mission is necessary and crucial to creating systemic change.

Technical Paths

Boot Camps
• AWS re/Start
• IT Support
• Security Fundamentals
• Software Engineering

Apprenticeships
• Cybersecurity Technician
• DevOps Technician
• Jr. Software Developer

Technical Paths

Boot Camps
• AWS re/Start
• IT Support
• Security Fundamentals
• Software Engineering

Apprenticeships
• Cybersecurity Technician
• DevOps Technician
• Jr. Software Developer

Graduate Profile

Juan Marquez, AWS re/Start Graduate – Cloud Identity Tech Support Engineer at Ping Identity

 

A Denver native, Juan Marquez was raised in a Spanish-speaking household that valued work ethic. Juan was diagnosed as hearing impaired in elementary school. Although initially doctors thought he would not be able to learn English due to the diagnosis and Spanish being his native tongue, Juan excelled at school winning, multiple academic awards through middle school. In high school though, Juan experienced two life-changing events, he lost his father and became a father.
     From a young age, Juan loved video games. So much so that he learned everything he could about the gaming consoles themselves, including how to repair them. Although he knew he wanted to be involved in tech, a four-year computer science degree was not possible for a father working multiple jobs. “It’s really hard to have the money and time for a college degree – four years is a long time,” says Juan. “I have a great work ethic and just wanted a chance. ActivateWork’s 15-week boot camp and apprenticeship program gave me that chance.”

     Juan joined ActivateWork’s AWS re/Start program in 2022, experiencing hands-on, scenario-based coursework that prepared him for a year-long paid DevOps apprenticeship with Ping Identity. Juan says the apprenticeship “offered a clear roadmap for what I needed to learn, how to improve, and what opportunities could be open to me when I finished.” He says he is grateful to Ping Identity for thinking outside of the box when it comes to

“I have a great work ethic and just wanted a chance. ActivateWork’s 15-week boot camp and apprenticeship program gave me that chance.”

education, and thankful for ActivateWork, too. “The continuous support I received has led me to the success I’m experiencing
now; ActivateWork exceeded my expectations in every way.”

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Graduate Profile

Juan Marquez, AWS re/Start Graduate – Cloud Identity Tech Support Engineer at Ping Identity

 

A Denver native, Juan Marquez was raised in a Spanish-speaking household that valued work ethic. Juan was diagnosed as hearing impaired in elementary school. Although initially doctors thought he would not be able to learn English due to the diagnosis and Spanish being his native tongue, Juan excelled at school winning, multiple academic awards through middle school. In high school though, Juan experienced two life-changing events, he lost his father and became a father.
     From a young age, Juan loved video games. So much so that he learned everything he could about the gaming consoles themselves, including how to repair them. Although he knew he wanted to be involved in tech, a four-year computer science degree was not possible for a father working multiple jobs. “It’s really hard to have the money and time for a college degree – four years is a long time,” says Juan. “I have a great work ethic and just wanted a chance. ActivateWork’s 15-week boot camp and apprenticeship program gave me that chance.”

     Juan joined ActivateWork’s AWS re/Start program in 2022, experiencing hands-on, scenario-based coursework that prepared him for a year-long paid DevOps apprenticeship with Ping Identity. Juan says the apprenticeship “offered a clear roadmap for what I needed to learn, how to improve, and what opportunities could be open to me when I finished.” He says he is grateful to Ping Identity for thinking outside of the box when it comes to education, and

“I have a great work ethic and just wanted a chance. ActivateWork’s 15-week boot camp and apprenticeship program gave me that chance.”

thankful for ActivateWork, too. “The continuous support I received has led me to the success I’m experiencing now; ActivateWork exceeded my expectations in every way.”

Partners in Purpose – Recent Grants
Awarded to ActivateWork

We’re grateful for the following investments in our mission to create an equitable economy for Colorado. By financially committing to our purpose, these organizations and individuals increase opportunity and help solve the tech talent gap.

ActivateWork News

In recent months, we’ve been honored with award nominations and national accolades. Plus, our CEO/Founder, Helen Young Hayes, has authored multiple thought pieces published in Colorado.

ActivateWork has been named as an Apprenticeship Ambassador with
the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship.

Hire for skills, not the diploma, by Helen Young Hayes

Helen Young Hayes discusses how ActivateWork connects employers
to a diverse pool of tech-trained learners.

Unlocking the Power of DEI, by Helen Young Hayes

ActivateWork’s Helen Young Hayes was one of three finalists
for the 9News Leader of the Year Award.

ActivateWork’s Kathryn Harris was named one of Colorado
Women’s Chamber of Commerce’s 25 Most Powerful
Women for 2023.

2023-2024 Colorado Governor’s Fellowship

Kathryn Harris has been named to the prestigious 2023-24 Colorado
Governor’s Fellow cohort, a program from CiviCO designed to grow the
next generations of leaders.

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ActivateWork News

In recent months, we’ve been honored with award nominations and national accolades. Plus, our
CEO/Founder, Helen Young Hayes, has authored multiple thought pieces published in Colorado.

ActivateWork has been named as an Apprenticeship Ambassador with
the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship.

Hire for skills, not the diploma, by Helen Young Hayes

Helen Young Hayes discusses how ActivateWork connects employers
to a diverse pool of tech-trained learners.

Unlocking the Power of DEI, by Helen Young Hayes

ActivateWork’s Helen Young Hayes was one of three finalists for the 9News Leader of the Year Award.

ActivateWork’s Kathryn Harris was named one of Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce’s 25 Most Powerful Women for 2023.

2023-2024 Colorado Governor’s Fellowship

Kathryn Harris has been named to the prestigious 2023-24 Colorado Governor’s Fellow cohort, a program from CiviCO designed to grow the next generations of leaders.

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