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Prosperity for All of Denver

You earn more over the course of your lifetime, you are less likely to be unemployed and your children have better health and educational outcomes when you achieve post-secondary credentials. That means when you earn a certificate, an associate degree, finish an apprenticeship program or have a bachelor’s degree you prosper – and so does your community. In a few short years, 74 percent of jobs in Colorado will require the applicants to have completed education beyond high school.

At the same time, the cost for that education continues to grow and is getting more and more out of reach for Colorado families.

Do you know the most important asset we have in Colorado is our smart workforce? We can’t afford to lose this competitive advantage, but if we don’t figure out how to get more of our kids to and through college we will lose this competitive advantage. That’s why last week we joined a broad coalition to add our voice in support of the Prosperity Denver initiative.

The initiative submitted its signatures to secure its place on the Denver ballot in November. Here’s what we like about the proposal:

  • It adds less than a penny on a $10 purchase, allowing Denver to raise $13.9 million to help close the financial gap for Denver youth to continue their education.
  • It will fund the full range of higher education opportunities, from apprenticeships and technical programs and certificates to two and four-year degrees.
  • It will serve every high school graduate or GED certificate holder between the ages of 18 to 25 who has lived in Denver for at least 36 months.
  • It pays for success! Nonprofits funding students will ONLY be reimbursed upon successful completion of classes. This approach motivates everybody (the student, the educational institutions and the nonprofits) to ensure our kids don’t just get to college but they get through college. Taxpayers only pay for success!

This program serves a model for how every community can help ensure they have the workforce needed for our future. You can help us by getting involved.

Kelly Brough is the president and CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber.