A changing workforce in Northern Colorado
The landscape of the workforce in Northern Colorado is changing at a rapid pace. There has been enormous population and job growth in the region. However, these two factors are moving at different speeds, which will eventually cause a job crisis.
As of April 2017, Northern Colorado has low unemployment at 2.8%. The local workforce that is currently seeking a job is finding that their skills are out of date and, therefore, they are not qualified for the many open positions that continue to appear.
In early 2017, the Fort Collins Chamber of Commerce, Loveland Chamber of Commerce, and more from Northern Colorado got together to conduct a study on the local talent pool, as well as trends of the local workforce and action items on how to improve the workforce for all. This report was called the “Talent 2.0 report.”
Open positions in Fort Collins-Loveland
According to the Talent 2.0 report, “Fort Collins-Loveland MSA will have almost 28,000 openings to fill between 2016 and 2020.” Also, during this same period, a “projected worker shortfall is at least 5,000.”
This means that a large number of positions will be available, but there is not enough skilled workers to fill those jobs.
In addition, “22 percent of the MSA’s workforce will be eligible for retirement in the next 10 years.” As the older, working generation starts to retire, who is going to fill those positions? Many industries require skilled trades or technology skills for qualified candidates to be eligible.
Last, the Talent 2.0 report states that “In general, there are a great many workforce development resources that could help connect employers to the talent they need, but there is a fairly low level of awareness among employers about the resources that exist.” Digital Workshop Center, as well as other community colleges and universities, are working to step up the awareness of certificate and skilled worker programs. This effort will keep more candidates in the region and populate the local workforce from within.
Digital Workshop Center’s role in the changing workforce
DWC continues to work with local high schools, colleges, and strategic partners to increase awareness and access to job skills training in the community.
Local partners include:
- The Matthews House
- Small Business Development Center
- Front Range Community College
- DaVinci Institute
- Converge Denver
- Loveland Library
- Colorado Workforce Centers
- Girl Develop It
In 2016, DWC served over 650 students across Northern Colorado and beyond.
80% of students who self-reported at the beginning of a DWC certificate program as unemployed, went on to find full-time employment*. The most common industries our students found employment include marketing, advertising, administrative, sales, business development, and web technology.
From student feedback, 98% of students indicated 5 of 5 star rating from their course.
As DWC continues to grow, we understand that we can best serve the Northern Colorado workforce by providing the following to our students:
- Provide professional development for the currently employed workforce to stay up to speed on the latest digital trends.
- Customize training for each individual or company so the skills learned are immediately job-ready.
- Use webinar and digital classroom technologies including Adobe Connect to include more people, while still maintaining live classes.
- Provide affordable coworking community space for students, entrepreneurs, and start-ups to connect and grow.
The goals of Digital Workshop Center are inline with the Talent 2.0 report as well. We will continue to provide affordable, flexible options for our students and up-skill the local talent pool in high-demand, high-growth areas.
*Data collected is from all certificate and bootcamp students, as well as any students attending classes from a WIOA grant
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