Network Leaders Share 2020 Priorities: Colorado Succeeds
December 6, 2019

With a new decade approaching, Network advocates are planning to hit the ground running in 2020. We asked leaders across the Network to share further details on the work they’re most excited to tackle in 2020 and beyond, from state report card improvements to advancing science-based reading instruction. Find the full series here.  

What are you most excited to work on in 2020 (and beyond)?

By Kelly Caufield, Vice President of Government Affairs, Colorado Succeeds

We know that success in the 21st-century economy will require different skills. Solving the problems of the future will depend on a person’s ability to think critically and quickly adapt to our ever-changing world—to be agile. We imagine a future where all of Colorado’s learners develop transferable competencies that will prepare them for a future we cannot predict and where the education system is responsive to the diverse needs and interests of all learners.

To understand how to drive more agile learning, earlier this year we convened leaders from government, K-12, higher education, and the business community. We asked what barriers exist and what opportunities we need to further explore. In response to what we heard, Colorado Succeeds unveiled a series of papers that explore better ways to enable these dynamic policy conditions—Agility Explained: Achieving Vision 2030 Through Policy. One idea presented here will be a top focus for the 2020 legislative session.  

It’s a new idea for Colorado; we propose a statewide policy for assessing and aligning learning acquired through work-related experience to the knowledge and competencies required for awarding postsecondary credit. It must also determine how certain credentials earned through career and technical education programs can transfer to two- and four-year institutions.

This would be a big win because it would help more students participating in career-connected learning to earn postsecondary credit for their ability to demonstrate competencies gained through work-related experience. 

Momentum is building on this important issue, including Governor Jared Polis prioritizing the policy in his budget. If passed, it would ensure there are multiple high-quality pathways for learners wanting to accelerate postsecondary credential completion while also ensuring higher education institutions are more responsive to the needs of employers. This is because the statewide policy would have to prioritize the knowledge and competencies valued by the fastest growing industries in the state, as determined by an annually produced economic report by the state’s workforce development council, the Colorado Talent Pipeline Report.

Further, it would create a statewide framework for assessing industry credentials for postsecondary credit. In 2016, Colorado Succeeds supported a statewide fund with bipartisan legislators called the Career Development Success Fund, which has incentivized over 9,000 credentials and related courses in high school. This policy would ensure more of these credits are accompanied by college credit.

This isn’t just a game changer for students but for members of the current workforce. 

This policy would help those employers already supporting lifelong learning and training needs. Many employers expose workers to high quality training programs that could now more easily be a source of college credit.

As a coalition of leaders seeking a more agile education system, we are excited to move this work forward with bipartisan leaders in Colorado in 2020. 

Interested in connecting with Kelly about any of this work? Reach out to the PIE Network team for an introduction.

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    Kelly Caufield

    Kelly is Vice President of Government Affairs at Colorado Succeeds

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