The act directs the Colorado state forest service (state forest service) to consult with other entities to develop educational materials relating to career opportunities in forestry and wildfire mitigation for distribution to high school guidance counselors to provide to high school students.
The act creates the timber, forest health, and wildfire mitigation industries workforce development program (development program) in the state forest service to provide partial reimbursement to timber businesses and forest health or wildfire mitigation entities for the costs of hiring interns.
The act requires the state treasurer, on June 30, 2023, and on June 30 each year thereafter, to transfer $1,000,000 from the general fund to the wildfire mitigation capacity development fund for allowable uses of the fund.
The act authorizes the expansion of existing forestry programs, including wildfire mitigation programs, and the creation of new forestry programs at public institutions of higher education (public institutions) to include state institutions of higher education, local district colleges, and area technical colleges. The commission on higher education (commission) shall determine which public institutions receive funding for expanded or new forestry programs, prioritizing public institutions that can provide a trained workforce expeditiously. The act provides for the acquisition of a harvesting simulator to train students, which may be shared among the forestry programs. The act includes funding for the forestry programs.
The act directs the state board for community colleges and occupational education (community college board) to administer the recruitment of wildland fire prevention and mitigation educators program (recruiting program) to increase the number of qualified educators at community colleges, area technical colleges, and local district colleges that deliver a wildfire prevention and mitigation program or course.
For the 2023-24 state fiscal year:
The act appropriates $15,000 to the healthy forests vibrant communities cash fund from the general fund; and
The act appropriates $1,545,034 to the department of higher education from the general fund, including:
- $114,384 for the Colorado state forest service at Colorado state university;
- $1,180,650 for use by the commission for new and expanded forestry programs; and
- $250,000 for the college opportunity program to be used for fee-for-service contracts for the community college board state system colleges for the recruiting program.
APPROVED by Governor May 12, 2023
EFFECTIVE May 12, 2023
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)