Colorado Workforce Development Council

T3: Tips, Tools and Tricks: The Colorado Workforce Development Council

Helping find the right employees for your business’s growth

The Colorado Workforce Development Council (CWDC) is a powerful, business-led, public-private coalition that works to advance talent development throughout Colorado.

“We’re really focused on two objectives,” said Lee Wheeler-Berliner, Director of the CWDC. “The first is ensuring that Colorado businesses have access to good talent, and also that all Coloradoans have access to meaningful employment.”

The CWDC works across multiple state agencies and serves as a convener and collaborator around talent issues for Colorado. There are two distinct levels: The Colorado Workforce Development Council, which is a Governor-appointed body, and the CWDC Office, which Wheeler-Berliner manages.

“Our staff in the CWDC Office serves as subject matter experts. They are available as consultants to businesses and public partners on the development of sector partnerships, and the formation of career pathways throughout the state,” he said. “Those are services that anyone can access by reaching out to our office.”

The CWDC supports Colorado’s talent development network by working with local Workforce Centers. There are 55 Workforce Centers located all over the State of Colorado.

“They post jobs for free, they can provide applicant screening and testing for a company, they can host job fairs and will sit down and work with businesses on a one-on-one basis to understand what their hiring needs are, and how they can get them sourced to the right talent,” Wheeler-Berliner said. “For a small business, a workforce center can almost be your contract HR department.”

He said if a business is interested in bringing on a worker for an apprenticeship, there are programs that can offer funding for employers to access in order to cover the cost of training someone who seems like they’re a good fit but needs to learn a little more on the job. These are free services offered throughout the state.

And if a Colorado business has issues around hiring or trying to source new individuals, their best stop is one of the local Workforce Centers. Additionally, opportunities exist for companies to connect t with their peers to solve industry-level challenges.

“Businesses can connect with others through regional sector partnerships,” he said. “Our office supports 26 next generation sector partnerships that are active throughout the state of Colorado.”

The regional sector partnerships are business-led and focused on one specific industry. For example, the Northern Colorado Manufacturing Partnership is focused solely on manufacturing in Larimer and Weld Counties.

“They’ve been active for five years,” Wheeler-Berliner said. “These partnerships are business leaders coming together to identify the challenges that face them specifically while generating shared solutions. We aim to facilitate the launch of these sector partnerships and to connect employers to them.”

The CWDC has also sponsored Colorado Companies to Watch for several years on behalf of the state.

“The State of Colorado believes in the value of 2nd Stage companies and greatly values the role of this program in supporting these companies to help them achieve success and to further the economy,” he said. “CCTW businesses should get involved in the Workforce Centers to obtain services and get help. There are free services offered to help them find talent and success as they move forward and grow beyond the 2nd Stage.”