Announcing EDCC’s 2018 Board of Directors

The Economic Development Council of Colorado (EDCC) is pleased to announce the addition of ten new members to the Board of Directors: Barry Gore, John Bristol, Stacy Johnson, Jeff Shaw, Kimberly Bailey, Wendell Pryor, Tara Hosick, Drew Kramer, Ryan Stachelski, and Jonita LeRoy.

The Board of Directors provide leadership for carrying out EDCC’s mission by positioning EDCC as 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. Jeremy Rietmann, economic development director for the Town of Gypsum will serve as board chair in 2018.

2018 Board of Directors:
Executive Directors: Board Chair – Jeremy Rietmann, Town of Gypsum; Vice Chair – Tammy Fields, Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC; Treasurer – Michelle Claymore, City of Commerce City; Secretary – Laura Lewis Marchino, Region 9 Economic Development District; Immediate Past Chair – John Hall, City of Westminster

Regional Representatives: Metro Denver – Kristi Pollard, Jefferson County EDC; Barry Gore, Adams County EDC; Northwest – Rachel Lunney, NW Colorado Council of Governments; John Bristol, Steamboat Springs Chamber and Resort Association; Northeast – Greg Thomason, Morgan County Economic Development; Stacy Johnson, Town of Windsor; Southeast – Kimberly Bailey, City of Fountain; Jeff Shaw, Pueblo EDC; Southwest – Sandy Head, Montrose EDC; Wendell Pryor, Chaffee County Economic Development

Special Appointments: Kelly Flenniken, Xcel Energy; Kittie Hook, Newmark Knight Frank; Tara Hosick,Climax Molybdenum; Drew Kramer, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association; Carolynne White, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck

Ex-Officio’s: Johanna Jamison, Department of Local Affairs; Jonita LeRoy, Governor’s Office of Information & Technology; Meridith Marshall, Office of Economic Development & International Trade; Scott Prestidge, Colorado Oil & Gas Association; Ryan Stachelski, Arvada Economic Development Association

Colorado Center on Law & Policy – State of Working Colorado

The State of Working Colorado is a collection of critical data designed to look beyond broad-based economic indicators to better understand how the economy is working for all Coloradans.

Colorado has one of the strongest performing economies in the country. Job growth has been robust for the past several years, consistently ranking Colorado among the top states for job creation. The unemployment rate has dropped steadily since 2010 to 3.3 percent in 2016. Real median household income continues to grow and is now slightly above the pre-recession level. And poverty rates have fallen since 2012, dropping to 11 percent in 2016.

Yet, this report points to several challenges to achieving an economic recovery in Colorado that is broadly shared and enduring:

  • The median hourly wage has been falling or flat since the recovery began
  • Economic gains are increasingly concentrated among a small share of high earners in the state.
  • While jobs have returned to the state, not all workers have returned to work.
  • Colorado is increasingly becoming a multiracial state with a persistent race-based economic divide.


Our hope is that the State of Working Colorado will inform the policy dialogue across the state and inspire ideas to bridge the gaps in the economy, help working families achieve the economic security they have earned and move our state forward.

Click here to read the full report 

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.

Office of State Planning and Budgeting – 2017 Revenue and Economic Forecast

According to the Governor’s Office of State Planning and Budgeting (OSPB), Colorado’s economic growth remains solid, with urban areas along the Front Range leading. With the expansion, however, comes rising costs of living and tight labor market conditions. Mining and logging has experienced the largest year-over-year job growth, followed by construction and professional services.

Summary ─ Colorado’s economic growth remains solid, with broad-based job growth and low unemployment. The more populated urban areas along the Front Range, with their greater economic diversity of growing industries, continue to outperform other areas of the state. However, the state’s strong expansion has led to higher costs of living and doing business, as well as among the tightest labor market conditions in the country. These factors have contributed to moderating growth, which is expected to continue through the forecast

Economic growth for the nation, as well as the world, continues at among the highest levels of this economic expansion. The labor market in particular has maintained its solid momentum, and manufacturing and international trade activity has increased. Further, the housing market looks poised to experience increasing activity in the coming year through more homebuilding and sales, which will contribute to further economic growth. Importantly, financial and monetary conditions remain supportive of continued expansion. However, tightening labor market conditions with slower labor force growth will constrain the U.S. economic expansion going forward.

Read more here.

OEDIT – Annual Report 2017

A Letter from Governor John Hickenlooper and Executive Director Stephanie Copeland:

2017 has been a historic year of opportunity and growth in Colorado. From our ranking as U.S. News & World Report’s top overall state economy to national recognition as the number one state job market, we have witnessed unprecedented growth and prosperity.

We choose to call Colorado home and, with our business-focused environment and vibrant quality of life, companies from around the nation and around the world are choosing Colorado as well. This year’s report outlines how we have captured the attention of business leaders who have, in turn, partnered with Coloradans to grow business and create opportunity across the state.

With opportunity comes responsibility and, during this time of unparalleled growth, we are mindful to ensure that communities and generations are not left behind. Technology and innovation are thriving in our business centers, yet we know that shared success is sustained success.

That’s why initiatives such as Colorado Blueprint 2.0 continue the commitment to share innovation, access to capital and vital networks with all regions of our state. When we share our technology, talents and resources across Colorado, we unlock our true potential not only from corner to corner but from generation to generation.

But there’s work ahead. 2018 offers real opportunity to build on shared success and turn momentum into a lasting legacy. Success will be measured both by the height of our achievements and the breadth of our reach. Our world continues to change and, while our state has opened a global bridge to tomorrow, we remain committed to ensuring that all of Colorado is on the path to prosperity.

Read the FULL REPORT here


Phoenix Haus, Pierce Corporation and Rocky Mountain Manufacturing Joins Jump-Start Tax Credit Program.

On December 21, the Economic Development Commission, a division of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT), approved three more companies to join the Rural Jump-Start Tax Credit program in Mesa County. This makes 11 total local participants in the program since its inception January 2016.

The three new participants are:

  • Phoenix Haus: a Detroit transplant that designs open-sourced, carbon-free house templates, moved to Grand Junction in October and is in the process of hiring its 4th local employee.
  • Pierce Corporation: a manufacturer of irrigation systems that chose to move operations from Idaho and Oregon in large part due to the milder climate in Colorado’s Grand Valley.
  • Rocky Mountain Manufacturing: a local startup manufacturing a new,patented prosthetic device.

The Grand Junction Economic Partnership (GJEP) has worked with all 11 companies on their applications to the program and projects together they will bring over 650 new jobs to Mesa County over the next five years. Each job is required to meet or exceed the average annual salary in the county($40,898 as of press time).

The Jump-Start Tax Credit program allows eligible companies to receive up to eight years of zero state income and sales & use taxes; zero county and municipal property taxes and sales & use taxes; and zero state income taxes for their employees. In exchange, the businesses will add a minimum of five net new jobs to the county in high-paying, highly skilled fields. The companies also agree to form a partnership with Colorado Mesa University, a local institute of higher education, through mentorship, internship opportunities and community involvement.

“Jump-Start continues to be an invaluable tool for our business recruitment efforts,” stated Robin Brown, GJEP executive director. “The program allows us to attract and retain companies in advanced industries that help grow primary job opportunities in the Grand Valley. It also helps our region compete with other, more recognized innovation hubs.”

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

Colorado’s population growth to slow in 2018, but new jobs still coming

Colorado’s employment and population growth will slow for a third consecutive year in 2018. The state will stay competitive in recruiting, and every major sector will add jobs, according to an economic outlook released Monday by the Business Research Division at the Leeds School of Business.

This information was presented during the 53rd annual Colorado Business Economic Outlook Forum at the Grand Hyatt Denver. More than 1,000 business and civic leaders planned to attend.

The outlook features forecasts and trends for 13 key business sectors across Colorado, the population and the national economy. The 140-page report also breaks down economic trends for several regions across the state. Overall, Colorado is projected to add 47,100 jobs in 2018, an increase of 1.8 percent, according to the forecast.

“The national unemployment numbers are low, but the state unemployment numbers are incredibly low,” said Richard Wobbekind, executive director of the Business Research Division.

The report outlines good news for workers as the low unemployment numbers should lead to increasing wages across a variety of sectors, he said. The labor shortage may, however, lead businesses to replace workers with machines or other technology, according to the report. The population will grow by 90,600, Wobbekind said. Most of that growth will come from people moving to Colorado.

Regional economic highlights:

Boulder County
The area continues to outperform the state with a highly educated workforce, a high quality of life and a world-class research university.

Kit Carson County
Low commodity prices and the prison closure put eastern Colorado in a difficult economic position. Farm conditions are stabilizing, but balance sheets will continue to be less than stellar. Tourism is a bright spot, with strong visitor numbers at the Colorado Welcome Center along Interstate 70.

La Plata County
Tech and the outdoor industry are doing well. The Southwest Colorado Accelerator for Entrepreneurs (SCAPE) is helping entrepreneurial ventures. Demand for construction and real estate will slowly provide a foundation for growth. Optimism among business leaders remains high, but underemployment is expected to continue.

Mesa County
Mesa County added as many people to its population in 2016 as it did in the five years between 2010 and 2015. Employment was nearly flat in 2017, but the business and economic outlook is trending upward. A declining unemployment rate, growing business diversification, and a strong real estate market position Mesa County for growth in 2018.

Northern Colorado
With a highly educated workforce and growing technology and entrepreneurship sectors, Weld and Larimer counties are more attractive than ever. Weld County continues to be a leader in agriculture production exports.

In 2017, the Pueblo area marked its lowest unemployment since 2000, at 3.5 percent. The aerospace, hemp, and rail industries set up the Pueblo area for further growth in 2018.

Southern Colorado
While Colorado Springs has traditionally lagged behind Denver and Boulder, that is no longer true. El Paso County added more than 10,000 jobs in the last year. Increased productivity is boosting the standard of living and the quality of life. The city is on track to outperform the nation in employment and wage increases. That should continue in 2018, making the region a smart choice for business growth and new investment.

Key industry growth forecasts
Construction 1.5 percent growth; 2,500 jobs

Education and health services 2.5 percent growth; 8,400 jobs

Financial activities 1.2 percent growth; 2,000 jobs

Government 1.1 percent growth; 4,600 jobs

Information 0.4 percent growth; 300 jobs

Leisure and hospitality 1.9 percent growth; 6,200 jobs

Manufacturing 1.1 percent growth; 1,600 jobs

Natural resources and mining 4.4 percent growth; 1,100 jobs

Professional and business services 2.4 percent growth; 10,000 jobs

Trade, transportation and utilities 1.9 percent growth; 8,700 jobs

Other services 1.6 percent growth; 1,700 jobs

Total 1.8 percent growth; 47,100 jobs

Announcing the Caren S. Franzini Fellowship

Recognizing outstanding women in development finance for their leadership and dedication to the advancement of the industry.
The Caren S. Franzini Fellowship was established in 2017 by the CDFA Board of Directors to recognize the exemplary leadership of Caren Franzini, a past President of CDFA and former CEO of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA). During her career, Caren was dedicated to the advancement of development finance best practices, education, and advocacy.

Recognized by her peers and colleagues as “simply the best,” Caren brought a high level of mastery and acumen to her work. Her commitment to the development finance industry is evident in the numerous programs created and the billions of dollars of investment that she catalyzed during her tenure at NJEDA. She was equally passionate about building leaders and experts in the field as she was about financing businesses and expanding economic growth and job creation for New Jersey communities.

The Caren S. Franzini Fellowship was created to build leadership positions for women in the field of development finance and to inspire them to embody Caren’s spirit and professionalism. Franzini Fellows are given the opportunity to work directly with CDFA through a one-year program aimed at developing lasting woman leaders in the field of development finance. Each class of Franzini Fellows will collaborate on a project of significance to the development finance industry and present it to a national audience. Franzini Fellows may build a new type of financing program, research creative deal structures, write a publication of best practices, or demonstrate new methodologies in the development finance industry. Collectively, their work will showcase expertise in development finance and the power of woman-led initiatives.

Franzini Fellows will meet in-person four times per year: at CDFA Summer School, the CDFA National Summit, and twice at the CDFA Rosenberg Leadership in Columbus, OH. During these engagements, Franzini Fellows will meet with other successful women in the development finance industry, receive training and inspiration from leaders in the field, and create a roadmap for building a successful career in development finance. In between in-person meetings, Franzini Fellows will be connected through an online platform that allows them to collaborate on their project and share best practices for building leadership traits.

The Caren S. Franzini Fellowship is open to women who have worked in the development finance field for less than 10 years. Franzini Fellows accepted into the program must be employed by a CDFA member and be sponsored by their employer for the duration of the fellowship. Applications will be made available once the Franzini Fellowship has been fully endowed. Consider making a gift in Caren’s honor to help establish the Fellowship.

ON THE MOVE: Town of Erie hires new Economic Development Manager


The Town of Erie has hired Benjamin (Ben) Pratt as its new Economic Development Manager. In his new position, Mr. Pratt is responsible for managing the Town’s economic development efforts including primary employment and retail attraction and development.

Pratt has over seven years of direct economic development experience, and most recently served as Vice President of the Erie Regional Chamber & Growth Partnership in Erie, Pennsylvania. Pratt served in that position since 2013.

Pratt received his Bachelor of Arts degree in International Business from Mercyhurst University and his Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) accreditation from the International Economic Development Council.

“I’m honored to be given the opportunity to help lead Erie towards achieving new private investment, better job opportunities for residents, a more diversified economy and a healthier tax base,” Pratt said.

Ben’s first day at Town Hall was Monday, November 27th.