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Colorado Offering Free College for Students Who Want to Work in Certain Fields

Colorado Offering Free College for Students Who Want to Work in Certain Fields

“early childhood education, education, firefighting, law enforcement, construction and forestry”

If you’re going to offer free college, meaning taxpayer funded college, at least make it worth the public’s investment.

Colorado Public Radio reports:

Free college in Colorado? It’s covered if you’re interested in teaching, firefighting, law enforcement, construction or forestry

Colorado has such dire workforce shortages in early childhood education, education, firefighting, law enforcement, construction and forestry that if you want a job in those fields, the state will pay for your college education to get a job.

Gov. Jared Polis officially launched the program “Career Advance Colorado” on Tuesday. It will provide tuition, fees and course materials to students on those specific career training paths.

“We’re excited to save Coloradans money and train people for good-paying jobs by offering free community college education for in-demand positions at the state’s 19 community and technical colleges,” Polis said.

Most of those fields pay more — some significantly more — than unskilled jobs, and officials say one big advantage would be graduating work-ready with little or no debt.

The goal of the program is to help fill significant shortages in certain areas of the state’s economy. The state currently has two job openings for every available worker. Colorado sees 3,700 openings for elementary and secondary educators every year. Construction jobs are also projected to increase by 20 percent over the next decade.

Colleges will target everyone from newly graduated high school students to people who’ve been in the workforce and are looking for a career change. Students who’ve “stopped out” of college, or have some college but no degree, are another target.


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thad_the_man | July 20, 2023 at 1:10 pm

Why not engineering?

    Eagle1 in reply to thad_the_man. | July 20, 2023 at 5:58 pm

    Probably because The Colorado School of Mines doesn’t have a shortage of applicants.

    FWIW, I’m much more supportive of this kind of an approach which will likely generate a return on the investment, than the government being in the loan business. At least the government here has an interest in the individual graduating and becoming both a taxpayer and a worker in a required field.

    artichoke in reply to thad_the_man. | July 21, 2023 at 6:14 pm

    Heck I’d say I want to do early childhood ed. in that case. At least for the first 2 years, then switch to STEM after taking STEM prereqs in the first 2 years. My prospective teacher classmates would not know why I was suffering in engineering physics instead of physics for poets, but hey maybe I’d be a science teacher.

    Or else finish, easily get a job, and maybe do very well because I’d be academically superior to the other early childhood teachers. If I don’t like it, get an MS in engineering at night.

This is exactly where “free” college will go. Your degree for careers or specialties wanted by the state will be funded, but maybe not your anthropology or archaeology of comparative literature degree. And many of the faculty now clamoring for “free” college will end up bitter.
You take the King’s shilling, you play the king’s tune.

henrybowman | July 20, 2023 at 4:06 pm

I was fully expecting to read that the privileged subjects would include gender studies, victim studies, critical theory, and… public adminstration.

I’m sure they’re saving that reveal for the second iteration, after everybody approves the current incursion.

BierceAmbrose | July 20, 2023 at 6:20 pm

Well The Ministry of Production does have to keep its supply chain provisioned.

Isn’t this what we used to call “job training” or a “probationary period for new hires? Or an apprenticeship?

What are the obligations upon graduating? Are they required to work in the State, or for the State, and in these professions after they graduate? For how long? What happens if they’ve completed part of the program and then drop out? What happens if they move to another State after graduating?

I would like to think that they would become liable for the tuition, books, fees, etc. if they skip out. However, Colorado is blue-blue-blue. and since Biden wants loan forgiveness for all students so does Gov. Polis. So they’ll probably get it all for free no matter what.

This will turn into just another Lefty free ride on the backs of the real workers.

    bill54 in reply to ss396. | July 21, 2023 at 1:33 pm

    Probably. Knowing the donkey party, one their nose is a tent, the rest soon follows.

    herm2416 in reply to ss396. | July 22, 2023 at 5:23 am

    I know in Kentucky, the graduate has to work in the field of the major for three years, or has to pay the tuition back to the school. As far as dropping out, I would think the same applies. If the major isn’t what they thought, perhaps there is an allowance for transfer to one of the other accepted choices.