Funds Workforce Development Increase Worker Skills
The act creates the workers, employers, and workforce centers cash fund (fund) for the purpose of responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency and the negative economic impacts of the pandemic as follows:
- To provide assistance to unemployed workers, including job training;
- To provide assistance to households;
- For programs, services, or other assistance for populations disproportionately impacted by the public health emergency, including programs or services to address or mitigate the effects on education;
- To provide aid to impacted industries, small businesses, and nonprofit organizations through the provision of related educational and job training services; and
- For related administrative costs.
The act directs the state treasurer to transfer to the fund $200 million of the money the state received pursuant to the federal "American Rescue Plan Act of 2021" (ARPA) and $25 million from the general fund. Of this amount, the act appropriates a total of $75 million for use in the 2021-22 state fiscal year, allocated in the following amounts and for the following purposes related to assisting unemployed workers, aiding impacted industries, and addressing or mitigating the impacts of the public health emergency on education:
- $25 million for the investments in reskilling, upskilling, and next-skilling workers program (program), which is an initiative of the state work force development council (state council) to facilitate training for unemployed and underemployed workers in the state during times of substantial unemployment, defined as an unemployment rate that exceeds 4% statewide or within a work force development area. Of this amount, the state council, in collaboration with the department of labor and employment (department), is directed to allocate: $20.75 million to local work force development areas for the program; $3 million for a grant program developed by the state council to award grants to other partners to provide reskilling, upskilling, and next-skilling supports to eligible individuals for up to 13 months; and $1.25 million for the department to conduct outreach and recruitment, provide access to digital platforms for career navigation, issue licenses for virtual training classes, and implement, administer, and report on the program, with any portion of the $1.25 million that is unencumbered and unexpended as of June 30, 2022, reallocated for the program and the grant program.
- $35 million for programs and initiatives established under the "Work Force Innovation Act", including $17.5 million for allocation to work force development boards for the work force innovation grant program to promote innovation to improve outcomes for learners and workers by helping prepare Coloradans for well-paying, quality jobs; and $17.5 million for use by the state council for statewide work force innovation initiatives;
- $10 million to the department of higher education for allocation by the state board for community colleges and occupational education to specified career and technical education providers to expand equipment, facility, and instruction capacity in key career and technical education job demand areas identified in the annual Colorado talent report; and
- $5 million to the department of education for the adult education and literacy grant program.
As required by ARPA, the money appropriated in the act must be obligated by December 31, 2024, and expended by December 31, 2026, and recipients of ARPA money must comply with reporting requirements specified in ARPA and by the state controller.
The act also authorizes the department to receive and expend money from the general fund or any other state source that is appropriated by the general assembly or passed through another entity for purposes of distributing state funds to work force development areas to implement work force development activities. The act specifies that state money appropriated or passed through to the department is not subject to limits imposed on the use of money received by the department pursuant to specified federal laws.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)