Advanced Manufacturing: Colorado’s “Pathways to Advanced Possibilities”

Making it a statewide priority to provide a well-trained workforce is a major factor in growing existing and attracting new industries to Colorado. + Currently, the state is not producing the quantity of workers necessary to support existing manufacturing or meet the future needs of the sector. In the spring of 2013 the Colorado General Assembly addressed this need with the passage of HB13-1165 which authorized the creation of a Manufacturing Career Pathway. While pathway development will be coordinated by the State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational education (SBCCOE) in collaboration with the Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE), Colorado Department of Education (CDE) and the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE), it will be industry led by manufacturers across the state.

The goal of designing a Manufacturing Pathway is to provide efficient and economical on ramps for individuals interested in pursuing careers in the manufacturing sector. The Pathway will include; (1) Career exploration information for students in middle school interested in pursuing a career in advanced manufacturing. (2) Development of secondary programs that offer a clearly-defined pathway to the acquisition of industry- designated stackable certifications, Associate, Bachelor or graduate degrees designed with industry input. (3) Multiple entry and exit points offering opportunities for workers re-entering the workforce or existing individuals looking for career advancement. (4) Identification of the academic, workplace and technical competencies identified by manufacturing employers necessary for career progression in high-demand manufacturing occupations; and (5) Technical skill assessments, academic and career counseling and other support services.

Working in partnership with manufacturing employers, the Pathway identifies academic, technical and workplace skills necessary for career success. Skill gaps in existing programs will be identified and additional curriculum will be developed as necessary to provide targeted and relevant training at each level in the system.