WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT

Boulder Chamber Guiding Principles

The Boulder Chamber will take a lead role in advocating for federal, state, and local policies that help Boulder businesses meet their workforce needs.

Current and future workforce demands greatly impact the bottom line of our local businesses. We support investments in strong educational systems, work-based learning, and workforce training programs to help develop a skilled workforce.

High-quality education in our region not only allows our community to attract and retain talent, but also ensure every child receives a rigorous and high-quality curriculum that gives them the necessary skills to meet workforce demands. As the foundation for a functioning democratic society, we support opportunities and partnerships that improve the quality of our education system and generate innovative approaches to prepare our workforce of the future.

The Boulder Chamber will continue to support polices that help businesses recruit and retain top talent. We will pursue proactive measures that help develop the talent pool to meet the demand for skilled workers across the wide-spectrum of Boulder-based industries.

Issue Areas And Positions

Education and Workforce Training

It is a Boulder Chamber priority to support our K-12 and post-secondary education programs and foster a close connection between businesses and our education partners that are developing our workforce. Additional support shall be given to training and work-based learning programs that increase access to skills needed at all levels of employment in our economy.

  • Support a state-level budget fix to provide sustainable and stable funding across all education levels, including K-12 school districts and higher education institutions such as CU Boulder, as a key component for preparing the future workforce and helping to recruit and retain businesses and workforce talent.
  • Support increased funding for the establishment of new training programs that prepare our workforce for job pathways that require technical skills or career-specific training.
  • Advocate for policies that support education institutions and private organizations that provide effective technical workforce training.
  • Support efforts to bridge the local business community to St. Vrain Valley School District and Boulder Valley School District to ensure that our business talent and expertise is shared with students in the public schools.
  • Advocate for increased support towards Career and Technical Education and work-based learning programs within K-12, post-secondary, and public workforce systems.
  • Support programs and policies that assist businesses in training and re-training workers to meet current job demand, including veterans, individuals with barriers to employment, older adults, and underrepresented populations.
  • Support business incentives for, and expansion of, opportunities that provide mid-career skill development and training, including continuing education programs, career-specific pathway trainings, and certificate programs.
  • Support policies that would create stronger connections and ease the transfer of credits between programs and institutions, including technical education, university classes and community college programs.

Workforce Recruitment and Retention

  • Advocate for policies that help business attract a diverse talent pool to meet their employment needs.
  • Support measures that make Boulder an attractive recruiting center for top talent, such as high-quality public schools, job opportunities for other family members, a thriving arts and cultural sector, quality of life, and housing affordability.
  • Explore and establish regional programs and networks that match workforce skill sets with the needs of local businesses and employers.
  • Support programs and policies that make Boulder affordable for all levels of talent across industries.
  • Support programs and initiatives that aid and provide benefits to workers, without putting excessive burden upon businesses. Scale programs to account for the different business sizes, classifications, and revenue levels.

The Bottom Line: Support industry-led programs and policies that facilitate workforce recruitment and retention for businesses of all sizes and industry types.

Minimum Wage

It is critical to our long-term economic sustainability to address income inequality and the challenge of keeping hard-working individuals out of poverty. The minimum wage is just one mechanism for addressing these issues and is important for providing financial security and predictability to low-wage earners. In being one of the only chambers in Colorado to support the 2016 minimum wage increase, we demonstrated our commitment to helping lift our lowest wage workers out of poverty. At the same time, we recognize that mandated wage increases place additional burden on small businesses. That is why we believe it is appropriate to monitor the benefits and impacts of the state-mandated wage increases before taking additional actions on wage issues.

Immigration

Immigration is a key economic issue for Colorado, especially for tech and business development, filling workforce requirements, and retaining educated and trained international students.

Immigrant workers are vital to communities and industries across Colorado. Our high-tech, agricultural, hospitality, and tourism sectors are particularly impacted by our broken immigration system.

For these reasons, as well as the human toll that our broken immigration system creates, the Boulder Chamber supports comprehensive immigration efforts, which include viable solutions that many of the previously listed industries have helped shape. Improvements in our immigration system will benefit Colorado’s economy and provide a welcoming environment for immigrants in our community.

The Boulder Chamber urges lawmakers to seek bipartisan legislative solutions to immigration policies, such as DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), that provide protection for those currently living, working, and contributing to our communities from deportation. We also seek solutions to the H-1B visa programs to allow our businesses to employ workers with special skills from across the globe.

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Workforce Development

There is a gap between the number of jobs available in Boulder and the workforce available to fill those positions across all industries and skill levels. One of the biggest contributing factors to the overall challenge is the lack of training specific to the needs of local businesses. Trends indicate this gap will only grow in the next few years, especially as workplace environments continue to evolve and more jobs require higher levels of technological literacy and professional competencies.

WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT GOAL
Meet our region’s workforce demands by driving collaborative community-wide partnerships to define Boulder’s workforce needs and develop the talent pool using workforce training and recruitment strategies to meet the demand for high-quality, qualified talent.

KEY STRATEGIES
Our local business leaders have pledged their support and investment in collaboration with community partners to achieve our workforce mobility goal through the following strategies.

  • Conduct Boulder talent gap analysis to create baseline metrics for the region, understand the needs of the community. Share results with education, community and business partners to generate awareness of workforce development gaps.
  • Collaborate regionally on industry sector partnerships, talent attraction programs and work-based learning initiatives, offering businesses alternative workforce solutions aligned with workforce demand.
  • Provide businesses with education and resources for instituting skill-based hiring, internships, apprenticeships and teleworking options.
  • Implement a marketing campaign and provide our businesses with regionally focused resources to assist in the attraction / retention of talent to fill available Boulder jobs.