Economic Development Council of Colorado Hires Kimberly Woodworth as their First Employee

Kimberly WoodworthThe Economic Development Council of Colorado (EDCC) recently announced that the Board of Directors have hired Kimberly Woodworth as their first full-time employee. Woodworth has contracted with the EDCC for the past 2 years, and due to her hard work, the organization is in a position to take this next step.

“Hiring a full-time employee was a natural progression for EDCC, said Jeremy Rietmann, EDCC Board Chair and Economic Development Director for the Town of Gypsum. Our organization has been entirely volunteer driven since 1976, but with our growing membership base and high aspirations, we knew we needed a talented person to take EDCC to the next level.”

Woodworth will direct the EDCC’s daily operations, help plan and coordinate conferences, regional events and manage its annual budget. Prior to joining the EDCC, Woodworth served as Operations Manager for Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation (Metro Denver EDC) and prior to that as the Marketing and PR Director for a 13-part Brass Ensemble.

“The EDCC is extremely fortunate to be able to hire someone of Kimberly’s caliber, said Rietmann. “Her tenure at Metro Denver EDC provided her with a wide network of contacts across the Front Range and her current location in the Western Slope gives her a good perspective of the economic development challenges communities are facing statewide.”

“I am extremely grateful to the board for trusting in me to continue my work in a more permanent role,” said Woodworth. “This organization is vital in how we execute successful and responsible economic development throughout the State. This organization has so much to offer and I am proud to be a part of it.”

The EDCC is a growing state-wide, nonprofit organization representing hundreds of economic development professionals as well as cities, businesses, non-profit organizations, government agencies, universities, community colleges, and individuals across the State.

The EDCC’s Board of Directors is made up of Officers and members from every region around the state. EDCC’s mission is to be the premier statewide organization for strengthening Colorado’s economy by promoting the highest standards of knowledge and skill for ED professionals, educating local and state leaders about the realities of economic growth, and advocating public policies that enhance economic opportunity for all of Colorado.

Rietmann said, “Through our public policy committee, EDCC is monitoring legislation making its way through the legislature and advocating on behalf of a healthy business climate, effective, well-maintained infrastructure and a capable, well-educated workforce. Our data committee is working to improve data utilization by economic developers statewide and provide them affordable access to economic impact analyses. Finally, the EDCC works to bring high quality professional development opportunities, such as International Economic Development Council (IEDC) courses, to Colorado.”

More information on the EDCC is available at https://edcconline.org or by contacting Kimberly Woodworth at 720.371.8997, kim.woodworth@edcconline.org.

Colorado Workforce Development Council – Talent Pipeline Report

The Colorado Workforce Development Council recently released its latest Talent Pipeline Report, which explores supply and demand trends regarding talent, and strategies on closing the gap and strengthening the pipeline to a skilled and relevant workforce. As certain jobs are being automated, several require increasingly higher levels of technological knowledge and employers value technical and professional skills. The report emphasizes that jobs are evolving faster than ever due to technological innovations, and the importance for Coloradans of all ages to continue learning and adapting to these changes.

Executive Summary

Colorado is often lauded for a strong economy and highly educated workforce. However, it is also important to recognize that each region of Colorado has a distinct economic situation, with a unique blend of talent-related challenges and successes. This report explores issues related to the supply and demand of talent in Colorado.

As in previous reports, we explore “Top Jobs,” high-demand, high-growth jobs that pay a good wage. We continue to look at two earnings tiers: a higher-earnings tier that includes jobs meeting a living wage for a family of three with one working adult (Tier 1) and a lower-earnings tier that includes jobs meeting a living wage for an individual (Tier 2).

Tier 1 job openings are largely concentrated in healthcare practitioners and technical roles, business/finance, IT occupations, and in  management positions. Even though there are regional wage differences in the fields in which Tier 1 jobs are concentrated, many healthcare practitioners and technical occupations often still make the top of regional lists across the state. Nearly all new entrants in this tier have education or training beyond high school, including degrees, certificates or work-based learning (WBL) experiences.

Tier 2 job openings are largely concentrated in construction, office and administrative support, healthcare support and food-preparation and serving occupations. This tier offers far more opportunity for entry for workers without education or training beyond high school.
While no one can predict the future, one thing we know for sure is that the workplace in Colorado will continue to change. While some jobs are being automated, many are requiring increasingly higher levels of technological literacy to operate more advanced systems and procedures. Employers highly value both technical and professional competencies, and in recent decades, fields experiencing job growth are requiring cognitive skills as well as social skills that are both high level. Perhaps more than ever before, it is important for Coloradans of all ages to maintain a fluid skills mindset, as jobs are evolving faster than ever due to technological innovations.

While Colorado has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country at 2.4 percent, there is variation in this rate by region as well as variation in the share of residents that participate in the labor market. While many Colorado businesses are experiencing a talent pipeline crisis (not able to fill open jobs with qualified skilled talent), there is still untapped talent in Colorado. Unemployment rates are higher for various segments of the population, such as those with disabilities, those with a criminal record and youth. There are also over 400,000 Colorado adults with some postsecondary education, but no credential, connecting these individuals to training in high demand skills could put them on a path to the middle class while helping to close the skills gap for employers.

Colorado continues to be an attractive state to outsiders, gaining just over 60,000 residents in 2016, although this growth has largely been experienced along the Front Range. While Colorado’s lifestyle, family friendliness and collegial atmosphere rank high with our talent, when surveyed, Colorado’s talent is feeling the impact of the rising cost of housing/living.

Our state is also facing demographic shifts. While the aging population is supporting the existence of about 240,000 jobs in the state through spending, it is also leading to the loss of highly experienced talent for many fields through retirement. While our state has a highly educated workforce relative to the national average, many racial or ethnic minorities do not have high levels of educational attainment. This is not just an education issue, but an economic issue, as our fast-growing Hispanic population, in particular, is changing the
makeup of our workforce.

As a state always at the ready to collaborate, Colorado is actively engaged in a range of strategies supporting the development of talent. Strategies focused on better aligning the skills of our workforce with employer demand include:

  • Colorado’s Sector Strategies Network: This growing network now includes over 700 businesses involved with 23 regional partnerships across the state, a consortium of state trade associations and 19 local workforce boards.
  • Industry-Driven Career Pathways Systems: This strategy and online tool for career-pathway development ensures that education, training and workforce systems stay attuned and responsive to the needs of the labor market; in 2016-17 the focus was on healthcare and construction fields, while forthcoming pathways include business operations and cyber-security. Focusing on these critical occupations is key to addressing the talent pipeline crisis.
  • Expansion of Industry-Recognized Credentials: An expanded credential system has great potential to improve our ability to promote and identify viable pathways to prosperity for Coloradans by creating common and recognized terminology that bridges the education and workforce communities. Additionally, programs that result in credentials allow high school students to be ready for their next step to get a job in Colorado and earn a living wage. Thousands of Colorado students are graduating with an industry credential in one hand and a high school diploma in the other. An example of a state program that encourages credential attainment is the Career Success Pilot Program that awards monetary incentives to school districts based on the number of students who complete qualifying industry credentials that are  aligned with Top Jobs.
  • Engagement with Work-based Learning (WBL): These initiatives include the expansion of adult and youth apprenticeships, internships and on-the-job training (OJT).
  • 2Gen Approach: Two-generation strategies align a variety of programs and services for children and adults to serve the whole family with a goal of achieving long-term self-sustainability and economic security.

Download report here.

OEDIT and Health Links strengthen the nexus between business & health

The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) and Health Links™ have come together to provide more health, safety and wellness resources to Colorado small businesses. Today, OEDIT and Health Links announced a Memorandum of Understanding to support businesses in integrating healthy practices to enhance their business vitality.

OEDIT recognizes health and wellness as an integral part of statewide economic development and has been working with Health Links as a trusted partner and adviser to encourage healthy behavior in businesses across the state. This partnership connects small businesses with in-depth assessments and training’s provided by Health Links, through the Colorado Small Business Development Center (CSBDC) network, a division of OEDIT.

“Colorado is a leader in health and wellness, and this is an economic opportunity to further invest in statewide talent attraction and retention through a focus on employee well-being,” said Meridith Marshall, Health and Wellness Champion at OEDIT. “With CSBDC serving as the foundation of small business development, our partnership with Health Links is a natural integration of health and wellness into the backbone of small businesses.”

Health Links is a program of the Center for Health, Work & Environment at the Colorado School of Public Health that collaborates with employers to build a culture of health and safety in the workplace. Housed within one of six Centers of Excellence for Total Worker Health®, a prestigious designation by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Health Links is able to bring the latest science in workplace health and safety to small businesses across the state.

“This partnership is an opportunity for Health Links to share our expertise in workplace health and safety with the employers that ask for our advice the most – small businesses,” said Lili Tenney, director of Health Links. “We know that small businesses have a lot on their plates so we are happy to be working with OEDIT to make the process of building a culture of health and safety a little easier.”

The OEDIT For Colorado: For the Health of It! Initiative aims to cultivate a culture of health and well-being in small business and communities to enhance economic vitality statewide. Working with the Colorado Small Business Development Center Network, For the Health of It! offers wellness consultations to integrate health and wellness into the backbone of businesses at any stage.

About Health Links
Health Links is a signature program of the Center for Health, Work & Environment at the Colorado School of Public Health. We collaborate with employers to build a culture of health and safety in the workplace. Backed by the expertise of researchers and our local community advisers, we assess organizations’ health and safety policies and programs, advise on actionable goals in one-on-one advising sessions, connect like-minded businesses with one another and to local resources, and certify qualifying employers as Healthy Businesses. For more information, visit healthlinkscertified.org.

CU Boulder’s Business Research Division: Leeds Business Confidence Index Report

Leeds Business Confidence Index Report, which is prepared by CU Boulder’s Business Research Division at the Leeds School of Business, captures Colorado business leaders’ expectations for the national economy, state economy, industry sales, profits, hiring plans and capital expenditures. A total of 284 qualified panelists responded to the survey.

The Leeds Business Confidence Index (LBCI) fell ahead of the fourth quarter of 2017, reflecting lower expectations for both the end of the year and the first quarter of 2018 despite all individual components of the index remaining in positive territory. The overall index came in at 56.5 for Q4 2017 and 55.3 for Q1 2018 (Note: an index value of 50 equals neutral).

For the second consecutive quarter, the LBCI’s overall outlook remained positive even as expectations cooled for individual indicators. The index fell 3.2 points from last quarter, but still remained higher than last year’s figure, gaining 3.5 points from Q4 2016. Panelists’ expectations were weakest for the national economy, but were buoyed by stronger expectations for the state, industry sales and industry profits.

“We are seeing a larger decline in optimism about the national economy than we are about the state economy,” said Richard Wobbekind, Executive Director of the Business Research Division.  “The state economy is still considered healthy and a larger percentage of respondents believes it is expanding rather than contracting.”

The LBCI reflected modest declines in expectations across a number of economic indicators. Sales and profit expectations ranked among the highest of the six survey components, but both still slipped ahead of Q4 2017. Capital expenditures and hiring also fell as growth expectations slowed.

Colorado’s job market remained a bright spot as the state continued to exhibit strong employment growth. Jobs increased 1.8 percent year-over-year in August 2017, the 14th-fastest rate in the country. Meanwhile, the state unemployment rate continues to outperform the nation as a whole, coming in at just 2.5 percent.

Colorado’s low unemployment rate, however, could make it difficult for employers to fill vacant or new positions, leading more than one-quarter of survey respondents to name it their top economic concern. Housing was the second most frequently mentioned issue, specifically high real estate prices and a lack of affordable housing that could discourage potential employees from relocating to Colorado.

For more information and to read the full report, visit the Business Research Division.

Contact:
Richard Wobbekind, Leeds School, 303-492-1147
richard.wobbekind@colorado.edu
Brian Lewandowski, Leeds School, 303-492-3307
brian.lewandowski@colorado.edu
Trent Knoss, CU Boulder media relations, 303-735-0528
trent.knoss@colorado.edu

Follow us @CUBoulderNews

Estes Park Economic Development Corporation Receives Excellence in Economic Development Award from the International Economic Development Council

The Estes Park Economic Development Corporation won a Silver Excellence in Economic Development Award for its General Purpose Website, a project in the category of General Purpose Website of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).

The honor was presented at an awards ceremony on Tuesday, Sept. 19, during the IEDC Annual Conference, which was held Sept. 17 – 20, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

“On behalf of the IEDC board of directors and Excellence in Economic Development Awards Advisory Committee, congratulations to the Estes Park Economic Development Corporation. Not only did they work to provide a necessary service to their community; but also, their participation in the awards program sheds light on their stellar projects which other communities can now use as a benchmark,” said Michael Langley, FM, the CEO of GREATER MSP, Minneapolis–St. Paul, MN, and 2017 IEDC Board Chair.

The website communicates the community’s economic development priorities, reflecting a regional strategy that was based on extensive stakeholder interviews and 790 e-survey responses. The survey research represents about 7 percent of Estes Valley’s population. More existing and potential businesses are reaching out for assistance looking to do business in the Estes Valley.

Since inception of a marketing plan and social media content calendar 12 months ago, they have seen 75% growth in Twitter followers to 269 followers. Facebook has 53% growth in page likes to 368 likes, a 120% increase in page views and a 425% increase in post likes.

The Website enhances the credibility of our e-newsletters and the open rate for the newsletters is 46.08% while the industry average open rate is 1.2%. Newsletter Signups on the website has seen 57% growth month over month.

“This website would not have been possible without the support and input from our Board of Directors, Stakeholders and community” said Adam Shake, Estes Park EDC Director of Communications and Business Development. “We would especially like to thank Town of Estes Park Public Information Officer Kate Rusch, Town of Estes Park Police Operations Captain Eric Rose and Larimer County Workforce Center Business Training Coordinator Mike Kohler for their individual contributions to the website.”

Jon Nicholas, Estes Park EDC President and CEO stated that “I am grateful that this website was built completely in-house. While many organizations rely on outside consultants and website designers, Adam Shake brought the technical expertise and ability to build a website on a Squarespace platform that incorporates responsive design and offers high quality information and business services to our Estes Valley businesses on a variety of devices.”

“The awards process is a thorough, non-biased and multi-layered process. These are extraordinary accomplishments for all winners, and an overall great effort by all participants. We look forward to next year’s awards competition,” Langley said.

EDCC & OEDIT Receives Excellence in Economic Development Award

Economic Development Council of Colorado & Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade Receives Excellence in Economic Development Award from
the International Economic Development Council

 

WASHINGTON, DC (Sept. 19, 2017) The Economic Development Council of Colorado (EDCC) and Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) won a Silver Excellence in Economic Development Award for its “How Colorado Came Together to Market Economic Development” campaign, a project in the category of Innovation in Economic Development Week (EDW) of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).

The honor was presented at an awards ceremony on Tuesday, Sept. 19, during the IEDC Annual Conference, which was held Sept. 17 – 20, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

“On behalf of the IEDC board of directors and Excellence in Economic Development Awards Advisory Committee, congratulations to the Economic Development Council of Colorado and Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. Not only did they work to provide a necessary service to their community; but also, their participation in the awards program sheds light on their stellar projects which other communities can now use as a benchmark.”  – Michael Langley, FM, CEO of GREATER MSP, Minneapolis–St. Paul, MN, and 2017 IEDC Board Chair

The mission for both OEDIT and EDCC is to increase awareness and economic prosperity for Colorado. The two teamed up this year to promote EDW. OEDIT created an Economic Development Toolkit that was specific to Colorado to help economic development organizations with their campaign promotions.
Campaign elements also included a press release from Colorado’s Governor pronouncing Economic Development Week in both a video and Proclamation, a blog from the director of OEDIT on LinkedIn, and a social media campaign populated by economic development organizations from around the state.
The goal of this promotion was to market and educate the importance of economic development organizations across the state. This opportunity brought together the economic development community, gave them a platform to share their economic development success stories and best practices, and to elevate their work within their communities.

“The awards process is a thorough, non-biased and multi-layered process. These are extraordinary accomplishments for all winners, and an overall great effort by all participants. We look forward to next year’s awards competition,” Langley said.

 

About the International Economic Development Council

The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is a non-profit membership organization serving economic developers. With more than 5,000 members, IEDC is the largest organization of its kind. Economic developers promote economic well-being and quality of life for their communities, by creating, retaining and expanding jobs that facilitate growth, enhance wealth and provide a stable tax base. From public to private, rural to urban, and local to international, IEDC’s members are engaged in the full range of economic development experience. Given the breadth of economic development work, our members are employed in a wide variety of settings including local, state, provincial and federal governments, public-private partnerships, chambers of commerce, universities and a variety of other institutions. Among many activities which benefit the economy, IEDC’s members create high-quality jobs and develop vibrant communities. www.iedcONLINE.org.

Excellence in Economic Development awarded to EDCC & OEDIT

WASHINGTON, DC (Sept. 19, 2017) – The Economic Development Council of Colorado (EDCC) and Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) won a Silver Award for Excellence in Economic Development Award for its “How Colorado Came Together to Market Economic Development” campaign, a project in the category of Innovation in Economic Development Week (EDW) of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).

The honor was presented at an awards ceremony on Tuesday, Sept. 19, during the IEDC Annual Conference, which was held Sept. 17 – 20, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

“On behalf of the IEDC board of directors and Excellence in Economic Development Awards Advisory Committee, congratulations to the Economic Development Council of Colorado and Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. Not only did they work to provide a necessary service to their community; but also, their participation in the awards program sheds light on their stellar projects which other communities can now use as a benchmark.”  – Michael Langley, FM, CEO of GREATER MSP, Minneapolis–St. Paul, MN, and 2017 IEDC Board Chair

The mission for both OEDIT and EDCC is to increase awareness and economic prosperity for Colorado. The two teamed up this year to promote EDW. OEDIT created an Economic Development Toolkit that was specific to Colorado to help economic development organizations with their campaign promotions.

Campaign elements also included a press release from Colorado’s Governor pronouncing Economic Development Week in both a video and Proclamation, a blog from the director of OEDIT on LinkedIn, and a social media campaign populated by economic development organizations from around the state.

The goal of this promotion was to market and educate the importance of economic development organizations across the state. This opportunity brought together the economic development community, gave them a platform to share their economic development success stories and best practices, and to elevate their work within their communities.

“The awards process is a thorough, non-biased and multi-layered process. These are extraordinary accomplishments for all winners, and an overall great effort by all participants. We look forward to next year’s awards competition,” Langley said.

About the International Economic Development Council
The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is a non-profit membership organization serving economic developers. With more than 5,000 members, IEDC is the largest organization of its kind. Economic developers promote economic well-being and quality of life for their communities, by creating, retaining and expanding jobs that facilitate growth, enhance wealth and provide a stable tax base. From public to private, rural to urban, and local to international, IEDC’s members are engaged in the full range of economic development experience. Given the breadth of economic development work, our members are employed in a wide variety of settings including local, state, provincial and federal governments, public-private partnerships, chambers of commerce, universities and a variety of other institutions. Among many activities which benefit the economy, IEDC’s members create high-quality jobs and develop vibrant communities. www.iedcONLINE.org.

CO-LABS Announces Winners of 2017 Governor’s Award for High-Impact Research

Ninth Annual Event Honors Colorado’s Top Scientists and Engineers for Projects Having a Significant Impact on Society

CO-LABS has announced the four winners of the 2016 Governor’s Award for High-Impact Research. Now in its 9th year, the event gathers scientists, researchers, entrepreneurs, business leaders and government officials to celebrate the exceptional and groundbreaking work of scientists and engineers from Colorado’s federally-funded research labs and institutions.

​“The projects in this year’s CO-LABS High-Impact Awards spotlight what makes Colorado a leader in innovation It’s terrific to see research advance its partnerships with the private sector. The range of crucial and profound discoveries coming from these labs are a national asset,” said Governor John Hickenlooper.  “I congratulate the scientific teams for their groundbreaking work and am excited to see the mark they will leave on our state and society as a whole.”

The winners will be formally recognized and celebrated Thursday, October 5, 2016 from 5:30pm-9:00pm at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, 2001 Colorado Boulevard in Denver, Colorado. See more details on each project and REGISTER today.

2017 WINNERS: 

  • JILA and Dr. Tom Perkins’ New twists in the molecules of life
  • NIST  – Seeing More with a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM)
  • NOAA/CU-Boulder/UCAR –  GPS Reflections: Innovative Techniques
  • CIRA – GOES-16 the New Generation of Geostationary Weather Satellite

Also for 2017 there are three Honorable Mentions:

  • USDA ARS – Sugar Beet research with High Impact in Colorado, the USA and the World
  • CIRES – Snow Research Improves Avalanche Safety, Water Resource Management
  • NOAA ESRL– Science on a Sphere and SOS Explorer visualization systems

See the full research and project details for each at www.co-labs.org.

“We are thrilled and truly honored to be recognized with the Governor’s Award for High Impact Research.  The vision of Drs. Keller, Geiss and Rice, to envision new and innovative ways to use a scanning electron microscope, coupled with their hard work at developing and validating the techniques, led to this impactful achievement, which has already resulted in broad scientific accomplishment and commercial success, said Dr. Jim Feteke, Chief of the Applied Chemicals and Materials Division at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). “Thanks so much to the CO-LABS Board of Directors and the Award Selection Committee for selecting our scientists for this prestigious honor.”

“Colorado has one of the highest per capita concentrations of federal science, research and engineering facilities in the nation, with renowned scientists whose research has global impact in a range of fields including agriculture, climate and weather, earth science, materials science, natural resource management, renewable energy, space physics and telecommunications,” said CO-LABS Executive Director Dan Powers. “This prestigious event provides a unique opportunity to connect with leading scientists, lab directors, business leaders and policymakers in an informal and celebratory setting, as we highlight the labs’ role in innovation and their significant contribution to the state economy.”

Started in 2009 by then-Governor Bill Ritter, this recognition effort starts with CO-LABS convening a special committee of academic researchers, technology transfer experts and science and engineering professionals to review nominations from the more than 30 federally-funded labs and research institutes in Colorado. Through a thoughtful and thorough process this group selects projects that have had a significant global, national or state impact resulting from a scientific breakthrough, change in public policy or development of a new technology.

15 Rural Colorado Communities Chosen for Second Round of Blueprint 2.0 Initiatives Designed to Boost Economies

Stephanie Copeland, executive director of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) along with local economic development professionals from around the state, gathered in Meeker on July 31, to announce the recipients of the second round of the Colorado Blueprint 2.0 initiatives.

“Blueprint 2.0 is a great example of how Colorado is going above and beyond existing resources to support the needs of our rural regions,” said Lt. Governor Donna Lynne. “We congratulate today’s recipients and look forward to seeing how these regions leverage the new services and resources to help strengthen their economies and communities.”

Blueprint 2.0 leverages state partnerships and specialized resources to address the unique economic development goals of rural Colorado. Launched in 2015, Blueprint 2.0 is a bottom-up effort to turn regional feedback on local economic needs into a statewide set of initiatives to advance the economies of rural communities.

“OEDIT is committed to building rural economies through a variety of innovative programs and initiatives,” said Copeland. “We are excited to announce the communities that will benefit from the second round of Blueprint 2.0 initiatives and look forward to working with communities across the state.”

Recipients of the second round of Colorado Blueprint 2.0 include:

  • A Data-Driven Approach to Economic Development: Steamboat Springs
  • Brand Building for Communities: Logan County, Moffat County and Custer County
  • Community Placemaking: Hayden and Kiowa
  • Coworking 101: Sterling, Delta, and Rio Blanco County
  • Creativity Lab: Grand Junction and Grand Lake
  • Film and Major Production: Georgetown and Victor
  • Grow Your Outdoor Recreation Industry: Trinidad and Silverton
  • Tourism Promotion and Development: Leadville and Rio Blanco County

The second round of Blueprint 2.0 offered six new initiatives based on participant feedback and economic opportunities. Each initiative includes services not previously provided by the State, and leverages state resources and partnerships with organizations outside of the state of Colorado to provide technical assistance to regions who expressed an interest in pursuing the initiatives.

“We are excited to be helping communities address everything from placemaking and branding to housing and economic development,” said health and wellness champion and senior regional manager for regional development Meridith Marshall. “We had great success with the first round of Blueprint 2.0, and we are looking forward to the second round of initiatives and what they will do for Colorado.”

Many communities applied for Colorado Blueprint 2.0 initiatives, and during the application process, communities and regions were asked to demonstrate collaboration, strong local leadership and solid support for the initiative they chose to pursue. Initiatives will be deployed between now and March 2018.

In 2016, OEDIT led 27 initiatives, of 10 different offerings, in 10 of Colorado’s 14 regions during the first round of the Blueprint 2.0 initiatives. The original Blueprint, conceived during Governor John Hickenlooper’s first term, was an overarching economic development strategy for the State.

 

USDA Colorado Rural Development Program Activity

Business & Cooperative Programs (BCP)

Business & Industry (B&I) Guaranteed Loan Program:

Visitors to Silverthorne, Colorado will soon have another affordable option in lodging. The Pad Hostels, LLC recently was awarded a $4.5 million Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan from USDA.  The funding will allow for the construction of a 116 bed hostel in Silverthorne.  The hostel will be a unique addition to the community as it will partially be built out of shipping containers. Once complete, it will feature 12 dormitories, 10 private rooms, and 12 extended stay rooms.

Limon, Colorado will also be getting a new hotel. A $6.725 million B&I Loan was awarded to Oasis Hospitality, LLC for the construction of a 83 room La Quinta Inn and Suites.  The hotel will feature an indoor pool, fitness room, lobby workstation, market pantry, and a guest laundry. The project will create 25 jobs.

For more information on the Business & Industry Guaranteed Loan Program click here.

Community Programs

Community Facilities (CF) Program:

Construction is continuing at a rapid pace for the new Habitat for Humanity of the Roaring Fork Valley ReStore in Glenwood Springs, CO (pictured above). Once complete, the new building will allow the entity to consolidate three rental buildings into one location that they own.  The new location will also facilitate increased donations of construction materials and household items, divert more materials from the local landfills, and provide stable full-time jobs to community members who would otherwise have trouble finding full-time sustainable work in a tourism area.  The building will also include features to minimize its long-term life-cycle costs such as using energy efficient LED lighting and a Photovoltaic Solar Array.

Habitat for Humanity utilizes sales from the store to support its homeownership programs in the local community. Construction is tentatively slated to be completed in the Fall of 2017.

For more information on the Community Facilities Program in Colorado, click here.

Water and Environmental Programs

Providing financial assistance to help very small, financially distressed rural communities extend and improve water and waste treatment facilities that serve local households and businesses is our goal. Good practices can save tax dollars, improve the natural environment, and help manufacturers and businesses to locate or expand operations throughout rural Colorado.  Funding is available for communities of 10,000 or less.

For more information on our Water and Waste Water Programs in Colorado, click here.

Single-Family Housing

Rural Development’s Direct and Guaranteed Loan Programs provide rural residents an opportunity to make a house become a home. Our Direct Loan Program provides a path to homeownership for low- and very-low-income families living in rural areas who would not qualify for conventional home mortgages.   Our Guaranteed Loan Program gives local lenders the opportunity to make home loans to eligible low and moderate income families living in rural areas. Providing affordable homeownership opportunities promotes prosperity, gives stability to families, and attracts new employees for expanding businesses. This, in turn, creates thriving communities and improves the quality of life in rural Colorado.

So far this year,1140 rural homeowners have found that special place to call home through Colorado Rural Development.   Remember, whether you choose a direct or guaranteed loan, USDA’s programs offer buyers a low, fixed interest rate, with no mortgage insurance or no down payment. For more information on our programs click here.

Last Housing Forum Scheduled This Month 

Don’t miss your chance to attend the final Housing Forum Colorado 2017 in Buena Vista on July 26th. The forums are sponsored by the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA).  This is an opportunity for lenders, Realtors and other housing professionals to hear the latest program updates from Rural Development, Federal Housing Administration, Veterans Administration, CHFA, and Colorado Housing Assistance Corp.  Real Estate Professionals can receive continuing education credits.  For more information and to register visit http://www.chfainfo.com/hfc.

Multi-Family Housing (MFH)

Finding a place to rent that feels like home

USDA Rural Development provides financing for affordable multi-family rental housing in rural areas for very low to moderate income, elderly and disabled individuals and families all across Colorado.  We have financed 116 properties designated for either senior or family living.  Rural Development does not manage these properties, however, anyone interested in finding an affordable rental unit in a rural area in Colorado should click here to find properties in a county near them.

Funding Availability:

Rural Development publishes Notices of Solicitation of Applications (NOSAs) or Notices of Funding Availability (NOFA) in the Federal Register.  NOSAs and NOFAs provide program information organized in a consistent way to easily and quickly find information regarding Rural Development Opportunities.  For more information on current notices click here.

Currently the following application windows are open:

Community Facilities Program Technical Assistance and Training Grants – Applications due July 24, 2017

More information on this program can be found by clicking here.

Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI) Grant -Applications due July 25th

For more information click here.

USDA Seeks Applications to Help Socially Disadvantaged Ag Producers and Rural Business Owners – Applications due August 1, 2017

For more information on how to apply for this program click here.