By Meaghan Sullivan | Executive Director
Ask me for my favorite restaurant picks and you’ll get a long list of brunch hot spots across Denver. I’m a sucker for a leisurely breakfast and bottomless coffee. So maybe I was predisposed to think the NextGen Workforce Breakfast, recently co-hosted by CareerWise and the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, was the hottest ticket in town. And yes, I did see Hamilton.
If you weren’t in attendance, here is what you missed. On the morning of February 23rd, a star-studded panel took the stage at the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce to talk with business leaders about the importance of one critical strategy for solving the talent shortage and addressing equity in our labor market. Spoiler alert! It was apprenticeship.
US Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh, Governor Jared Polis, and US Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper shined a spotlight on the power of youth apprenticeship to change our economy through a new way of hiring. Central to the discussion was the unique power of pulling students into apprenticeship directly through the public schools.
In speaking of the students in our public high schools across the state, Senator Bennett said, “They have the intellectual capacity to do anything anyone in this room is doing. But don’t have the good fortune to have a system that is aligned with setting them up for success. They are fighting through barriers on their own that are deeply unfair. No kid in America should have to do it. The country needs the talent of this workforce.” He continued, speaking directly to the business leaders in the audience “I believe, if you are looking for an opportunity to transform the American economy, and the lives of millions of Americans, this (apprenticeship) is the way to do it. I don’t see any reason why Colorado and Denver can’t lead all 50 states.”
I say… challenge accepted. Let’s do this! If you want to move the needle in your organization on diversifying your team, growing your talent pipeline or addressing equity gaps for young people, reach out to us.