CareerWise Colorado, Denver Public Schools Receive $9.5 Million

The state of Colorado has announced commitments totaling $9.5 million from Bloomberg Philanthropies and JPMorgan Chase & Co. in support of youth career readiness and apprenticeship programs in the state.

In partnership with the state, Bloomberg Philanthropies announced a grant of $5.5 million to CareerWise Colorado (formerly Business and Schools in Collaboration), a statewide apprenticeship initiative for high school students, while JPMorgan Chase pledged $4 million to the Denver Public Schools Foundation in support of CareerConnect, a pilot program that aims to equip high school students in the district with the skills needed for lucrative careers and postsecondary opportunities in Colorado’s leading industries.

Beginning in the fall of 2017, high school juniors and seniors will be eligible to participate in CareerWise Colorado, which expects to serve two hundred and fifty students initially, with plans to grow that number to about twenty thousand, or 10 percent of eligible high school students in the state, within ten years. Students participating in the program will spend up to half their time on-site with employers while earning credit toward a high school diploma and postsecondary credentials. An additional post-graduation year of apprenticeship will further prepare students to enter the workforce directly or continue their postsecondary education at a community or four-year college. While apprenticing, students will be considered employees of the business and be paid a training wage for the time spent at work.

"We need to unleash our capacity for stronger, broader, long-term growth by ensuring all young people are given the opportunity to acquire the skills needed for their future success and to support the competitiveness of our industries," said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP and a former three-term mayor of New York City. "To do this, businesses and educators must work together to ensure the skills being taught match those needed — not just for today's workforce, but in the workforce of tomorrow. That's exactly what this partnership in Colorado seeks to achieve."

JPMorgan Chase’s three-year commitment will support the expansion of DPS' CareerConnect to include K-8 students and establish a new apprenticeship model called CareerResidency. CareerConnect expects to boost the number of students it serves to nine thousand from more than six thousand, with the goal of helping them develop the skills and education needed to work in Colorado’s engineering, tech, biomedical, advanced manufacturing, and finance industries.

"The work that this funding supports will provide a bridge to districts in the metro area and across Colorado," said DPS superintendent Tom Boasberg. "We are excited to expand our own offerings to prepare students for successful careers and to share what we’ve learned through programs like CareerConnect with students from all over the state."