Energy Sector Career Pathway In Higher Education
The act requires the Colorado work force development council (council), in collaboration with local work force boards, the department of education, superintendents of local school districts, the state board for community colleges and occupational education (community college board), and other postsecondary partners, to design a career pathway for students in the energy sector using an existing statutory model for the design and implementation of career pathways. The act defines "energy sector" to include electromechanical generation and maintenance, electrical energy transmission and distribution, energy efficiency and environmental technology, and renewable energy production.
The act creates the strengthening photovoltaic and renewable careers (SPARC) workforce development program (SPARC program) in the department of labor and employment (department). The purpose of the SPARC program is to create capacity for and bolster training, apprenticeship, and education programs in the energy sector career pathway to increase employment in the energy sector, prioritizing in-demand and growing occupations in the energy sector. The department, the council, the community college board, and the department of higher education shall use money appropriated by the general assembly to expand the capacity of training programs and support the energy sector career pathway, as described in the act. The department, in consultation with the council, the community college board, and the department of higher education, shall determine the amount of money allocated to public institutions of higher education, local workforce development areas, and others. The act creates the SPARC program fund.
By November 1, 2022, and each November 1 thereafter, the act requires the council to submit an annual report to the house of representatives business affairs and labor committee, energy and environment committee, and education committee, or their successor committees, and to the senate business, labor, and technology committee, transportation and energy committee, and education committee, or their successor committees , concerning the implementation of the SPARC program and the use of funding, and to present a summary of the report at the department's annual presentation to the general assembly. The act repeals the program, effective July 1, 2026.
For the 2021-22 state fiscal year, the act appropriates:
- $90,048 and 1.3 FTE to the department from the SPARC program fund for one-stop workforce center contracts and the Colorado work force development council; and
- $1,724,590 to the department of higher education from the SPARC program fund for the community college board and state system community colleges.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)