Colorado Apprenticeship Awards Celebrates Successful Programs and Apprentices Around the State

On Tuesday, Nov. 10, the state honored individuals and organizations dedicated to the advancement of apprenticeships at the third annual Colorado Apprenticeship Awards. The virtual event was hosted by the Business Experiential Learning (BEL) Commission. It included leadership from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, the Colorado Department of Higher Education, the Colorado Department of Education, the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, CareerWise Colorado, the Colorado Community College System, and the Colorado Workforce Development Council.

“As Coloradans continue to feel the pandemic’s effects on the state’s economy and workforce, apprenticeships will be a critical part of our recovery and move us toward a more equitable economy,” said Noel Ginsburg, CEO of CareerWise and chair of the BEL Commission. “Apprenticeships can help Coloradans learn in-demand skills in growing industries while earning a paycheck, and employers benefit by finding the talent they need to grow.”

Apprenticeships offer paid training, skill development, and connection to critical industries, equitable hiring and skills development for new and existing employees, and a clear pathway to Colorado’s high-growth industries, including healthcare, construction, skilled trades, information technology, cybersecurity, advanced manufacturing, clean energy, hospitality, and early childhood education. Through apprenticeships, we can build deeper talent pools that enable Colorado’s employers to address skills gaps.

“Apprenticeship graduates earn, on average, $300,000 more over the course of their career than their peers. You can progress in a career path while earning a living wage. Apprenticeships increase equity across career paths,” said CDLE Executive Director Joe Barela.

Award winners from these various industries were recognized for their impact on workforce and included businesses and mentors dedicated to helping students improve their careers. Winners included apprentices, mentors, programs, employers, and partnerships that have demonstrated a remarkable commitment to increasing apprenticeships and expanding access to apprenticeship programs.

Dr. Angie Paccione, executive director of CDHE presented the award for the apprentices. Dr. Paccione highlighted how the apprentices in our state benefit the businesses and organizations they’re working for.

CDHE recently launched the Colorado Collegiate Apprenticeship Program, which matches motivated individuals looking for a stable, viable and exciting career paths in fields like IT and healthcare, with companies of all sizes who believe in the value of human capital and understand that the right people can reshape the workforce of the future.

The statewide apprenticeship program was funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, and is in partnership with local colleges and universities, with the goal of creating more than 6,000 Colorado collegiate apprenticeships by summer 2024.

This model can continue to transform opportunities to open new doors and set all Coloradans on a path to prosperity. We hope to increase the participation and access to valuable apprenticeships around the state. Below you can find the full list of award winners that were honored during the 2020 Colorado Apprenticeship Awards:

Apprenticeship Programs

  • Veterinary Technology Registered Apprenticeship Program
  • Courtesy Electric Co.
  • The Master’s Apprentice (a pre-apprenticeship program)


  • Leressie Ashley from Pinnacol Assurance
  • Dylan Reitenbach from Solar Installation Workforce Programs and GRID Alternatives
  • Michelle Brown from RK Mechanical


  • Workforce Boulder County, Front Range Community College, Boulder Medical Center, Boulder Community Health, and Boulder Chamber
  • Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Community Association Institute, Arapahoe Community College, and ADWorks!
  • Western Colorado Area Health Education Center and Mesa County Workforce Center


  • RK Mechanical
  • ClayDean Electric
  • Pilatus Business Aircraft LTD


  • Garrett Calkins from Intertech Medical
  • Brandon Henry from Western Colorado Area Health Education Center
  • Shekina Francis from Colorado Sheet Metal Workers JATC



Colorado Department of Higher Education

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