CareerWise Launches the NextGen Hiring Challenge

DENVER – February 21, 2021 –  CareerWise Colorado today announced the NextGen Hiring Challenge, a movement to educate employers about the importance of scaling up alternate early-career talent pipelines as the state’s economy begins to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. The NextGen Hiring Challenge sets a target for youth apprenticeship hires at five percent of a company’s workforce, location or division within a five-year timeline.

“We know youth apprenticeship works—we’ve seen it become an important talent strategy for many of our employer partners during the past few years,” said Noel Ginsburg, CareerWise founder and CEO. “Some of our most successful youth-apprentice employers find the ideal mix is about five percent of their workforce. At that scale, apprentices are making a real impact on the company, and the program is making a real impact in the community.”

A youth apprenticeship is a multi-year engagement that is more than an internship–it’s a paid work-based learning experience that prepares students to step into entry-level positions in modern fields such as IT, financial services and healthcare. Youth apprentices typically begin their apprenticeships while enrolled in their junior or senior year of high school and participate in related instruction through the community college system or other related instruction partners throughout the state. 

“Colorado’s employers have the power to change the course of our economy through hiring,” said Ginsburg. “Now is the time to accelerate the scale of Colorado’s youth apprenticeship system—and that’s goin​​g to be accomplished through hiring groups of apprentices rather than just one or two at a time.”

According​ to the International Monetary Fund, millions of young people looking for their first full-time job during the COVID recession may earn approximately $400 billion less in earnings during the first 10 years of their career.

“Recessions impact those just entering the workforce throughout their careers, and that could have a significant impact on the economy for decades,” said Ginsburg. “We can build back stronger by making a deliberate effort to hire tomorrow’s talent today—creating opportunity for more people and shaping a more inclusive and equitable economy.” 

A number of employers have workforces with five percent youth apprentices through CareerWise. Pinnacol Assurance, Intertech and Reata have met the NextGen Hiring Challenge, and through their larger cohorts of apprentices are providing the opportunity, training and professional network necessary for young people to launch a career while simultaneously increasing their company’s short and long term ROI as apprentices expand their skill set.

For more information on the NextGen Hiring Challenge and how to join the youth apprenticeship movement, visit

About CareerWise Colorado

CareerWise Colorado’s youth apprenticeship system creates new, diverse talent pipelines for employers and new career pathways for students to access high-demand, high-paying careers. Student apprentices work toward high school graduation and earn postsecondary credit, industry credentials or both in their chosen career path. Established by the state of Colorado’s Business Experiential-Learning (BEL) Commission in 2016, CareerWise works with more than 120 employers and 16 school districts to facilitate apprenticeship. More information is available at

Media Contact:

Mary Knight, Communications Specialist


(715) 314-1411