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State Receives $500,000 from Walmart to Strengthen Paths to Economic Prosperity for All Coloradans

Colorado Workforce Development Council


Today, the Colorado Workforce Development Council (CWDC) announced it received a $500,000 grant from Walmart in support of the Advancing Individual Ownership of Assets and Career Determination initiative. Through the grant, the CWDC will work collaboratively to strengthen Colorado’s workforce system, so job seekers can more easily define and share their professional qualifications online with employers, access better data to select quality training providers, and enroll in training that leads to employment in high-demand occupations.

The grant will also increase the ability of employers to identify workers with the skills and credentials that meet their needs. These efforts will enable more Coloradans, specifically those from historically marginalized populations, to pursue education and training and connect to in-demand, quality jobs with a path to economic prosperity.

“We are excited to support these important efforts in Colorado as we collaborate across the workforce ecosystem to improve economic outcomes for workers,” said Sean Murphy, Director of Opportunity at “We aim to increase equitable access to economic opportunity. Critical to that goal is ensuring that job seekers and workers can clearly and easily define their education, experiences and skills to prospective employers. This work in Colorado will help inform similar efforts nationwide.”

The grant will enable the State to create the digital infrastructure, so any Coloradan can access a learning and employment record (LER) – an online record that documents the skills, credentials, education and work experiences accrued throughout the individual’s life in a digital wallet. Once the information is contained in a digital wallet, Coloradans can easily authorize their information to be verified and shared across learning management systems, educational platforms, HR systems, and more.

The creation of a digital wallet will strengthen connections between employers in need of talent and workers with job-relevant skills to ease hiring challenges and make hiring processes more efficient. A 2022 SHRM Talent Acquisition report cited the average cost to hire as nearly $4,700 and taking an average of 54 days.

“Equipping individuals with digital records of their own verified skills puts the power of training and work decisions back in the hands of workers,” said Renise Walker, CWDC’s assistant director of systems innovation. “At the same time, it enables employers to make effective and informed hiring decisions based on the skills required to fill a position.”

Through a collaboration with Credential Engine, the grant will also make it easier for Coloradans to assess which training providers offer quality training and credentials that meet industry standards and produce the best outcomes for learners.

“Through this partnership, and by increasing credential transparency through technology, we can help Coloradans make informed career decisions and see more clearly the various pathways they have to economic mobility,” said Scott Cheney, Credential Engine’s CEO.

The partnership between the State and Credential Engine is the result of an acknowledgement that Coloradans need more information to identify the education and training programs that return the best results for their investment of time and resources.

“Over the last decade, the cost of higher education in Colorado has increased, even with increased state investment over the last several years,” said Michael Vente, Chief Performance Officer at the Colorado Department of Higher Education. “This stresses the need for more affordable access to and awareness of high-quality credentials that reduce the time to degree and help Coloradans enter quality, in-demand jobs more quickly.”

To increase affordability and address inequitable funding gaps for training, the grant will also support Colorado’s first Innovative Finance Community of Practice. Participants will develop more sustainable approaches to funding quality training for high-demand occupations, which will reduce the cost barrier for individuals to fill critical open positions in the state and increase resources for employers to reskill or upskill their workforce.

Throughout the initiative, Colorado will continue contributing to and learning from national best practices to advance these innovations at the state and national levels in order to close economic equity gaps and increase employer investments in training the current and future workforce.