Colorado Capitol Report

Colorado Chamber Sustainability Task Force Meets to Develop Shared Principles

Colorado Chamber Sustainability Task Force Meets to Develop Shared Principles

The Colorado Chamber’s Environmental Sustainability and Climate Action Task Force held its inaugural meeting today to outline the scope of the group and strategies moving forward. The task force also heard from Will Toor, executive director of the Colorado Energy Office, to talk about how business can work together with government to achieve shared goals and incentivize innovation in the private sector.

Task force members discussed specific short- and long-term state regulatory actions that are impacting industries across the state, emphasizing the importance of predictability and consistency from government. The task force also discussed what the areas of focus of the group would be over the next year, from climate action to broader sustainability initiatives.

Colorado can and should be a leader on business engagement at the state level on environmental goals, and the private sector’s role is critical. The Colorado Chamber’s task force is a pathway for diverse business groups to come together to help lawmakers and public officials understand how the individual commitments of the Colorado business community can lead to a collective strategy for reducing emissions and improving our environment.

The task force will continue its monthly meetings through the end of the year, with ultimate goal of establishing guiding principles, legislative recommendations, and other collective actions that can be taken through collaboration between the private and public sector.

Read more about the goals of the Chamber’s environmental task force in President and CEO Loren Furman’s latest column for CoBiz Magazine here. Special thanks to our participating task force members for their commitment to improving our environment while promoting economic growth in Colorado:

  • American Council of Engineering Companies of Colorado
  • Black Hills Energy
  • Boulder Economic Council
  • Building Owners and Managers Association
  • Chevron
  • Climax Molybdenum
  • Colorado Farm Bureau
  • Colorado Wyoming Petroleum Marketers Association
  • Davis, Graham & Stubbs LLP
  • Denver South
  • GCC
  • Molson Coors
  • Natural Soda
  • Occidental Petroleum
  • Tri-State Generation
  • United Airlines
  • Waste Management
  • Xcel Energy

What We’re Watching: House Bill 1246

We’re more than halfway through the 2023 Colorado legislative session and new bills continue to make their way through the process as lawmakers finalize the long anticipated budget bill. This week, Gov. Jared Polis and key members of leadership made a major announcement on new workforce development legislation, including the introduction of two bipartisan bills meant to bolster the state’s talent pipeline.

The first of those bills is what we’re watching this week: House Bill 1246, a $45 million zero-cost credentials initiative to support in-demand careers. This bill, introduced in the House Tuesday, would provide aspiring professionals in high-demand fields with free training toward associate degrees and industry certificates at public community colleges, local district colleges or area technical colleges. Eligible industries include elementary and early childhood education, firefighting, law enforcement, forest management, short-term nursing, and construction trades. The proposal also appropriates funding for apprenticeship and nursing programs.

HB 1246 builds on a law passed last year that infused funding into the development of the health care workforce, making community college free for certain health care certificate programs. The 2023 initiative is sponsored by Speaker Julie McCluskie, Rep. Rose Pugliese, Sen. Janet Buckner, and Sen. Perry Will.

Bolstering the state’s workforce for in-demand careers is a key priority of the Colorado Chamber’s legislative agenda this year after it was identified as one of employers’ top concerns in a recent Chamber survey. We must ensure that students across the state are educated to their greatest potential, and all of Colorado’s businesses have the talented and innovative homegrown workforce they need to thrive. HB 1246 specifically satisfies three of the Chamber’s workforce development priorities: 1) expanding apprenticeship programs, 2) supporting alternative, non-degree pathways to credentials, and 3) better preparing students for the workforce and in-demand careers.

The legislation was announced as part of a press conference held by the governor’s office and also included a scholarship initiative as part of a larger workforce development package. That bill has yet to be introduced, but will devote approximately $25 million in funding for scholarships to eligible students for postsecondary education or workforce training opportunities – including apprenticeships, certificates, on-the-job training, and two- and four-year degrees.

The program has the capacity to serve 15,000 graduating high school students in the Class of 2024, more than 25% of all high school graduates statewide. The bill will be sponsored by sponsored by Sen. Jeff Bridges, Senate Minority Leader Paul Lundeen, and Reps. Matthew Martinez and Don Wilson.

Both of these bills have the potential to bridge the gap between the talent deficit facing many Colorado companies in high-demand industries and students looking for rewarding careers. They are designed to make an impact quickly to address the severe labor shortages impacting critical industries.

Read more about the details of this important workforce package on the Chamber’s news site, The Sum & Substance.

Colorado Chamber Files Pre-Hearing Statement Regarding Additional Regulations Impacting Businesses

In response to House Bill 1266 (Environmental Justice Disproportionate Impacted Communities), which passed during the 2021 Legislative Session, the Air Quality Control Division has begun the rulemaking process for implementation of regulations addressing the new law.   The Colorado Chamber of Commerce has filed party status to the rulemaking process and with respect to the Division’s proposed regulatory revisions, the Colorado Chamber requests additional clarity on the definition of disproportionately impacted (DI) community and criteria for enhanced monitoring and modeling.

A copy of the pre-hearing statement outlining the Colorado Chamber’s comments and concerns can be found here.

CLIMBER Loan Funds Available for Small Businesses

Informational Call for Businesses to Learn about Colorado’s CLIMBER Loan Funds

Two Opportunities: March 31 & April 27

Join the Colorado Chamber and former local chamber CEO, Sam Taylor for a 45-minute call to learn how the Colorado Treasury is working with lending institutions to make low interest loans to the small businesses across our state.

The CLIMBER Loan Fund program was created by the Colorado Legislature in 2020 to help businesses that were adversely impacted by the pandemic to gain access to working capital loans at sub-market rates through the year 2024.

This informational call is for small businesses (up to 99 employees) to learn how they can access the state’s $250 million fund.

Two Opportunities:

Friday, March 31, 11 a.m.
Register Here

Thursday, April 27, 11 a.m.
Register Here

Don’t want to wait for the call? Contact Sam Taylor at [email protected]