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Construction Apprenticeships and
Targeted Hiring


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Colorado is facing a shortage of construction workers while at the same time many Denver residents lack access to good paying jobs. Hiring and apprenticeship training goals on city construction projects will both expand the supply of trained workers for Denver's construction industry, as well as provide those who need it most with a living wage job and pathway to a future career.

In early 2019, Councilwoman Kniech, Councilwoman Ortega, and the Mayor’s office outlined new workforce requirements on major projects across the city. The 3-year Denver Construction Career Pilot will target workers in economically disadvantaged areas for job training, placement, and apprenticeship utilization on 15 large city construction projects totaling over $900 million in value. The pilot will provide the city valuable insight on how to best attract new talent to the industry and connect residents with economic opportunities.

A few highlights of the new workforce requirements for pilot projects:

  • Must use targeted outreach, marketing, and training plans.
  • Ensure 15% of all project construction hours are performed by apprentices in registered apprenticeship programs, with one-quarter of those coming from targeted backgrounds/communities.
  • Utilization of the WORKNOW platform to recruit, prepare, and place new workers.

The first project utilizing components of the pilot is the Colorado Convention Center, a $200+ million expansion project.

These advancements are informed by successful programs around the country. Industry recognized apprenticeship training programs are an important component in a construction career. Registered apprenticeship programs ensure workers acquire skills that they can take with them to the next job, and progress in their career, eventually acquiring a certificate accepted throughout the United States. Apprenticeships provide on-the-job supervision and training as well as classroom education with an approved curriculum to earn while they learn well-rounded skills that meet industry standards. Also, graduates of such programs become eligible for higher wages and can progress into middle-wage careers.

Economic Opportunity Through Construction Careers on City Projects

Over $1 Billion in City Projects
Thousands of Good Paying Jobs
Construction Career-Building Opportunities

$45,000 Median construction annual salary in Denver

  • National Western Center
    Thanks to voter approval of $778 million, the national Western Center will revitalize arenas, educational facilities and the South Platte River.
  • General Obligation Bond
    This fall, Denver voters will decide on a general obligation bond, likely more than $500 million, to repair and build new city infrastructure.
  • Transportation and Infrastructure Projects
    Annually, Denver also fuds additional construction, such as multi-modal transportation and drainage imnprovements.

Why Hiring Goals?

Colorado faces a shortage of construction workers, due in part to an aging workforce. At the same time, Denver has communities still suffering from lack of access to good-paying jobs. Hiring and training goals on city construction projects would incentivize contractors and service providors to find and train those who need jobs the most. The construction industry gains a new generation of employees, workers receive training and support to overcome barriers, and worker's families experience greater economic stability - all while building our great city.

A Trainee's Story

Louis Vigil, 32 Years Old, Sheet Metal Apprentice

Overcoming a background with gangs and the criminal justice system, Louis is now in his second year of the Sheet Metal Union Local 9 Apprenticeship program. He is currently working on a water treatment plant under the supervision of a journey,an named Mike, who has been in the trade for 25 years. Louis' wages rise each year he advances, and they allow him to support his wife and three kids. He hopes to own his own construction company one day.


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