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RISE/GEER Grant Award

11/21/23, 12:00 AM

Helping Students Achieve Their Career Goals and Develop Colorado’s Workforce, Governor Polis Announces RISE Grant Recipients and Additional Funding Opportunity for Youth-Based Apprenticeship

DENVER - Today, Governor Polis announced the six recipients of the fourth round of RISE grant funding. This round of RISE provided funding to create more youth apprenticeship opportunities for high school students. Youth-based apprenticeships are an innovative way to help students gain professional experience and explore future career goals while finishing their high school degree.  Additionally, youth apprenticeships blur the lines between learning and earning, increase postsecondary options for students, and develop Colorado’s workforce.

"I am thrilled to highlight these six apprenticeship programs that have taken an innovative approach to supporting student's learning experiences. Youth-based apprenticeship programs are an innovative way to encourage students to explore careers, gain real-life experience, and get ahead in secondary education before even graduating high school. Investing in education and supporting our schools ensures that we provide Colorado students with resources to help them succeed,” said Governor Polis.

The majority of apprentices in Colorado are adults, but youth apprenticeships can be a valuable model for helping students take the next step from high school. The programs highlighted today have taken an innovative approach to allowing students to explore future career paths through pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship opportunities and will be able to grow and expand their programs.

This round of the RISE funding opportunity was created by Governor Polis’ allocation of nearly  $2 million in GEER funds. The RISE grant program launched in 2020, and has provided four rounds of funding, this round focused on youth-based apprenticeships. In total, the RISE fund has disbursed approximately $68 million to support education opportunities in Colorado, specifically aiming to provide support to underrepresented students, in low-income, rural areas.

The six RISE Youth Apprenticeship Fund Recipients include:

  • CareerWise Colorado ($349,470) will engage with Colorado Space Coalition, The Colorado Community College System, and Cherry Creek School District to hire an inaugural cohort of aerospace youth apprentices.

  • Colorado River BOCES ($245,000) is partnering to expand work-based learning opportunities, career-related coursework, and certifications to high school students.

  • Morgan County Economic Development Corporation ($280,000) will support the Roots 76, a workforce readiness program bringing a mobile virtual reality (VR) lab to Morgan County for trade skills training for high school students.

  • Neurodiversity Works ($245,000) creates opportunities in the drone industry through partnership with education and industry patterns, by providing drone certification training and summer caps to enhance theoretical and practical skills for youth ages 16 and up.

  • Poudre School District (475,999) - will offer new apprenticeships in transportation, IT, cybersecurity, construction, and design for district students.

  • St. Vrain Valley School District ($382,489) will offer youth apprenticeships focused on technology and PreK-12 education.

Today, Governor Polis is also announcing an additional round of applications for $550,000 in RISE: Youth-Based Apprenticeship Grants. Just like round one, these applications should focus on high-growth, high-need industries and support underrepresented student populations. Applications must be submitted by December 4, 2023, at 5 pm in PDF format via email to

Last week, Governor Polis announced the FY24-25 proposed budget. The budget included historic investments in education and workforce development opportunities and expanding resources that help Coloradans achieve their career goals.

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