I.       Introduction

Colorado Resource (CORE) Partners represent an alliance of organizations resourced through Community College of Denver’s Center for Workforce Initiatives to achieve three main objectives:

  • Foster demand-driven skills attainment and employment using regional infrastructure projects as a catalyst
  • Enable upward mobility for all metro Denver residents and families
  • Align and integrate programs and services and promote exchange of best practices and technical assistance

This training and resource partner alliance will present an employment platform co-convened by CWI and Denver Workforce Services, in partnership with regional infrastructure projects, including CDOT’s Central 70 project.  WORKNOW exists to coordinate community-centered hiring on infrastructure projects to improve access for local residents and to provide project contractors with a pipeline of local workers in craft and professional service positions.

This document represents the charter for CORE/WORKNOW, to guide the scope and approach of operations and impact work.

II.     Background

WORKNOW emerged from a series of stakeholder roundtable sessions hosted by Colorado Department of Transportation to support local hiring efforts. Training and resource partners, community residents, and local employers identified multiple issues impacting workforce service delivery, including:

  • Siloed and reduced funding environments, leading to duplication of efforts and limited shared success measures
  • Inconsistent alignment across work support and training organizations 
  • Lack of consistent access to information and training related to construction employment opportunities
  • Substantial shortage of construction workers needed to deliver projects according to project schedules and budgets 

To work on these problems in new ways, a collective partnership formed and secured seed funding in July 2017.  Direct training and support services implemented initially to build a workforce pipeline for CDOT’s Central 70 expansion project, with a stated intent to develop an independent, community-based platform to be used by multiple projects regionally and statewide.  An additional project partner, the National Western Center, was announced in February 2018.  Pilot service activities launched in October 2017 with full-scale activities implemented in March 2018.

III.    Purpose and Objectives

CORE partner organizations across metro Denver provide direct services related to career navigation, family resources, and technical or personal development skills training. These activities align to support four WOKRNOW operational strategies:

  • Find and prepare workforce for construction industry opportunities—including craft, office and professional service
  • Integrate and scale supportive services, particularly access to child care to support working families with effective and seamless navigation assistance
  • Resolve barriers that prevent people of color and women from finding and keeping good construction jobs
  • Provide technical assistance to drive policy and practice to foster inclusive economies and effective career-building pathways

CORE partners seek to operate within a system of prioritized shared values including,

  • Be accountable and transparent
  • Make a measurable difference
  • Stay human centered and customer focused
  • Solve issues and implement solutions in collaboration
  1. Expectations & Assumptions

Partners agree to participate in joint planning, aligned service delivery and modification of activities based on collective performance in order to accomplish the following:

  • Active participation in program planning, resource alignment, and evaluation
  • Commitment to joint development of an aligned initial intake and/or assessment to help customers understand industry opportunities, identify strengths, articulate situation needs, and set goals
  • Provide a point of contact for continuous partnership building through monthly meetings
  • Provide a point of contact for job seekers interested in construction opportunities (can be the same person)
  • Agreement for cross-training and information sharing across individual organizations, and commitment to referring customers outside of organization as needed
  • Ensure that intake and referral services are customer-centered and provided by staff trained in customer service
  • Meet common data collection and reporting needs
  • Commitment to inclusive practices that respect and empower all Coloradans and a willingness to explore and address systematic barriers impacting access to construction careers

This work is based on several key assumptions related to philosophical approach, operations, and service delivery.  All partner activity is based on three beliefs:

  • Good jobs drive positive outcomes for workers and communities
  • The construction industry provides access to high-wage, high-growth jobs with strong career paths
  • A collaborative approach to serve shared customers is central to facilitate upward mobility and asset building for all

Operational Assumptions are:

  • Partners will adopt a shared vision and common customer approach to build an effective continuum of services
  • Providers have capacity to deliver services and a record of outcomes (proven past performance)
  • We will have appropriate executive and stakeholder support to break down silos
  • Funding will be in place to implement evidence-based services to fidelity
  • There is an evidence base and best practice model for majority of services
  • Partner and co-convener leadership support and prioritization for system improvement efforts
  • All partners will provide effective enrollment, training and placement services and collaborate on innovative approaches to build family and community wealth

Service Delivery Assumptions are:

  • There are problems/inefficiencies in the construction workforce readiness ecosystem that can be addressed
  • Limited funding can be maximized through partnership and a “shared” customer model
  • There should be coordination; continuity and consistency across/between CORE partners
  • Training, placement and retention services should be inclusive of new hires and upskilling for existing employees.
  • Programs will be marketed to business as a value add (Hiring or training “requirements” don’t have to be a burden on businesses)
  • Platform intends to become self-sustaining through employer/ project investment and leveraged resources across partners

This collaborative work is also based on the expectation that partners will realize positive impact from a collective approach. Through alignment, CORE partners benefit in the following ways:

  • Build knowledge and expertise in construction industry trends, career paths, training resources and employment hubs
  • Access to career navigation tools and assessments to support general program services.
  • Opportunity to engage in deep impact work with both local peer organizations, and model resources nationwide
  • Access to direct supportive service resources and planning, as appropriate for organization
  • Ability to pilot and use technology tools to increase organization and collective effectiveness, such as Aunt Bertha supportive service directory, and the collaborative project management portal
  • Direct connection to training and employment partners on regional infrastructure projects
  1. Guiding Principles

Through three partnership development meetings, CORE organizations identified multiple guiding principles related to WORKNOW service delivery and implementation.  These recommendations are based on partner experience and best practices in workforce development.  

  • Be accessible—provide multiple information access points in various locations and formats
  • Meet customers where they are at—assess interest, strengths and needs to facilitate the best next step for where that individual wants to go
  • Be community-centered and customer-focused in the service delivery structure; while we see both employers and job seekers as our customers, we will honor and include participant voices in our solutions, our evaluation, and our continuous improvement practices.
  • Speak and share—Utilize the expertise and services of all partner organizations so we may build a common base knowledge about the industry and effective service delivery
  • Be accountable–Share our data, outcomes; also be responsive and follow-through on commitments to customers and partners
  • Be transparent and authentic—In order to deliver on our promise, we must honor what’s working and resolve what isn’t.  We stay true to our purpose—helping families and each other “build more”
  • Provide clear “return on investment” for all—Collective partners will stay engaged through progress, participants will persist when they see a positive impact and authentic services; Employers will hire as they see a difference in hiring levels and retention or turn over. 
  • Getting it right is more important than hitting a number—while we focus on demonstrating outcomes, we care more about our impact and the difference we make, which means sometimes we need to “go slow to go fast” 
  • Be innovative—Consider what serves people best and focus on how to make it work (let’s not limit our work to standard approaches only)  

VI.     General Plan & Approach

General Plan

The establishment of WORKNOW is accomplished in two phases.  Phase I addresses service coordination and collaboration amongst the partners. Phase II will address how to functionally and fiscally sustain the unified system described in Phase I through the use of resource sharing, employer/project owner investment, and joint fund-raising efforts.

  • System alignment launched in October of 2017 to pilot services with a wide scale partnership launch in March 2018. It is anticipated full-scale program rollout will include several expansion stages to bring partner services to scale.

During these phases, the setup of the program will be accomplished in a series of straightforward steps:

  • Establish WORKNOW with the following detail:
    • Program charter
    • Detailed definition of roles and responsibilities,
    • Scope of services based on project needs and identified gaps
    • Clear articulation of the measurements used to determine progress
  • Expand WORKNOW full scale across all partners with the following detail:
  • Full enrollment and referral capabilities
  • Use of all platform technology tools
  • Implementation of resources on partner project(s)
  • Establishment of Advisory Group and Community Adviser Circle

Co-conveners, partners, and funders share responsibility in assessing the operation of the program with any improvement opportunities identified.


The overall approach for execution of work plans is to organize the effort into four action sub-committees:

  • Outreach and Recruitment
  • Services (including enrollment and referrals procedures)
  • Placement and Advancement
  • Evaluation and Operations

CORE Outreach and Recruitment

Committee Purpose:

  • Defined preferred recruitment strategies to execute in support of three WORKNOW populations
  • Provide support in the implementation of strategies across CORE partner organizations
  • Drive peer-to-peer and grassroots recruiting practices
  • Provide input and feedback on CORE/WORKNOW collateral and campaigns

CORE Services( including an initial focus on Enrollment and Navigation processes)

Committee Purpose:

  • Define WORKNOW enrollment flow and access points
  • Ensure WORKNOW services are accessible, consistent, and in line with both community needs and contractor/project goals
  • Provide input and support of the implementation of processes across CORE partner organizations
  • Provide input on the development of tools and information to support Navigators

CORE Placement and Advancement

Committee Purpose:

  • Define recommendations on WORKNOW placement and advancement strategies through traditional and “grassroots/informal” approaches
  • Ensure placement, advancement and enrollment services consider the needs of two populations—new hires and existing industry workers seeking upgrades
  • Provide input on the development of project employment activities, referrals as applicable, and employer engagement strategies

CORE Evaluation and Oversight

Committee Purpose:

  • Provide recommendations on WORKNOW measures and metrics
  • Establish policies and tools to ensure WORKNOW and CORE partner activities are accountable and authentic
  • Provide input on the development of participant, employer, and CORE partner feedback loops
  • Ensure transparency by providing oversight on quarterly reports, annual report, and operational

VII.    Program Operations

The essential partnership structure and purpose is illustrated in the diagram below.

WORKNOW launched on the Colorado Department of Transportation’s Central 70 project and serves multiple infrastructure projects across metro Denver.   WORKNOW supports employment related connections for infrastructure projects in four key areas–Resource Navigation, Training, Talent Development/Advancement, and Community Building.

Specific services offered by CORE partners to support these areas of connectivity include:

Resource Navigation—support for items/services that may arise and act as a barrier to employment, like gas cards, child care access or driver’s license reinstatement fees, etc.

Training—basic and middle skills training options that can be customized for specific project positions—including foundational skills, registered apprenticeship, and industry certificates

Talent Development/Advancement—project specific placement activities such as quarterly job fairs or customized activities to include neighborhood-based hiring and outreach; up-skilling and retention of existing project employees

Community Building—aligned partner activity to support peer mentoring circles and multiple access points for information and services across metro Denver; in addition, support for or expansion of innovative efforts that support community wealth building and enhanced services to local residents such as increased child care service access

CORE partners have identified the following expertise and experiences to build on in order to execute the navigation, resource and training services in support of program operations. These strengths include:

  1. Workforce Development Training and Community Based Organizations
  • Technical skills and construction industry awareness
  • Understanding how to develop soft skills and work readiness
  • Content knowledge and experience structuring training that leads to industry employment or retention
  1. Job Placement
  • Connections to jobs and industry training pathways
  • Post-placement support (Wrap-around and retention work)
  • Ability to assess potential work barriers
  1. Resources (Provision of)
  • Funding for matching or leveraging resources; awareness of how supports help families succeed
  • Training Centers to provide decentralized services that are more accessible
  • Trust with communities and neighborhoods to deliver services and resources
  1. Experience working within multiple communities and populations
  • Youth (in school and out of school)
  • Women in non-traditional industries
  • People of Color
  • Awareness of/experience in equity issues facing individual neighborhoods
  1. Service Provision with a holistic approach
  • Experience in provision of wraparound services
  • Multi-generational approach and understanding of how work impacts families

These identified strengths led to the development of individual partner MOU’s for all CORE partners. CORE partners agree to share expertise and support competency development across organizations.

The Community College of Denver’s Center for Workforce Initiatives (CCD/CWI) staff and partnering consultants will provide backbone services for CORE partners to include:

  • Support for the establishment of collective charter and vision
  • Direct referrals for partner services and ensuring system-wide referrals
  • Funding distribution, activity planning & alignment
  • Technical support and network building for partners
  • Management of some technology and communication tools
  • Development of collaborative marketing and recruiting collateral
  • Data tracking and evaluation to support overall program effectiveness 

Additional technology resource assets may be managed directly through partnership funders, including The Piton Foundation at Gary Community Investments, and project owner-investors.  CORE partners agree to adhere to service agreement terms of technology platform tools as they are released.

CWI and Denver’s Office of Economic Development/ Denver Workforce Services will co-convene the employment platform WORKNOW, in collaboration with project owners, and provide the following services to CORE partners and program applicants:

  • Information regarding occupations, qualifications, wages, preferred skills and abilities to support navigators and training providers (CWI)
  • Information regarding general industry trends and labor market information (DWS)
  • Coordination support for industry hiring events, project-specific job fairs/power-prep sessions (DWS)
  • Facilitated engagement with local infrastructure projects and prime developers (CWI/DWS)
  • Support for the individual, non-project affiliated industry employers who may contact platform to workforce pipeline support (DWS)
  • Placement and retention data on affiliated projects (CWI /DWS)

CORE partners agree to meet monthly, with action items implemented through committee activities.  CWI will facilitate meetings and/or align external facilitators to support partners in various aspects of work scopes.  Host sites will be rotated across CORE partners.  CORE partner attendees agree to:

  • Attend all meetings (or send organization alternate)
  • Be present in meetings (technology off or on vibrate) and participate
  • Be explicit about organizational or individual limits
  • Do what you say and follow through
  • Adopt brevity, clarity, and action orientation
  • Stay focused on customer needs
  • Consider new approaches or frames to solving old problems.

WORKNOW oversight is assured through CORE partner participation, an established Advisory Group, and a community adviser circle to achieve the following:

  • Ensure transparency and accountability for WORKNOW from multiple constituency perspectives
  • Review investment recommendations related to barrier remediation for people of color and women in the trades and monitor for unintended consequences to program activities
  • Ensure that affiliated projects include authentic community workforce development approaches that are efficient, effective, and meet their budgets/project timelines

VIII.  Success Criteria

The primary success factor for the CORE partnership is “to build more” through its services and activities.  WORKNOW and its training and resource partner organizations want to improve how we all help people find and keep good construction jobs, and to enhance how we foster community economic development and equity through opportunities generated from large-scale infrastructure projects. 

The partnership measures impact through data tracking on outreach activity, training completions, placement, and retention (both on a job and in the industry).  At the individual and family level, metrics track income gains, skills development and increased access to resources.  This data will be shared quarterly and annually through public venues to support program accountability and continuous improvement. 


Target  Timeline
Find and prepare workers for industry success
Recruit, screen, enroll, train, retain target participants 1500 2017-2022
Participants enter pipeline 2000 2017-2022
Initiate employer engagement on post placement training and develop resources to support employers in advancement training 3 employers to start; 50% of partnering employers at scale Feb. 2018 launch
Participants securing industry employment 1050 2018-2022
Recruit training and certification partners that support “next level” skill building along a career pathway. 10 lead organizations Oct. 2017 pilot launch
Integrate and scale effective supportive services to support working families
Establish CORE to coordinate access to gap funds as needed, ensure communication between navigator & training provider on support services, needs, next steps (use Aunt Bertha to facilitate integration) 15 lead partners (resource & training) Oct. 2017 pilot launch (Phase 1)

October 18 (full)

Partner with FFN (families, friends and family network) seeking child care certification through “Strengthening Families Initiative” and WorkLife Partnership to support emerging child cooperatives with access to staff development provided through the state’s two-generation program. Minimum of 2; Cohorts of 12 each; Launch March 18 2018-2022
Partner with WorkLife Partnership to ensure emergency or as needed care through training and employment via childcare navigator and Care.com Launch January 19 2019-2022
Recruit financial education partners that support savings and emergency cash plans. 3 (included in navigation leads) June 2018
Resolve barriers to entering and advancing in industry, particularly for women and people of color
Increase number of women and people of color in registered apprentice and OJT trainee positions Quarter to quarter growth compared to DOL averages 2018-2022
Create peer to peer mentorship & networking associated with cross-training and/or business development. 750 active members 2017-2022
Recruit contractor and vendor supply firms to participate in acculturation interactivity to examine hiring and employment bias and the inclusionary practices TBD 2018- 2020
Sustain employer engagement and support of retention activities (offered via WorkLife Partnership) 5 employers invest (launch with project owner investment) 2019-2022
Provide cross-training opportunities and multiple work site positions to mitigate the cyclical unemployment associated with construction. 4 projects activated 2018-2022
Provide technical assistance and elevate best practices that foster inclusive economies    
Recruit entrepreneurship partners in workforce development with a focus on supporting “associated” businesses, including food service, child care and expansion of small businesses in target neighborhoods TBD

Plan determined by January 2019

Participating contractors/employers financially support child care innovation in exchange for state and federal tax credits.  10 employers invest 2018-2022
Research and showcase model programs to support collective service improvement 2 exchanges per year 2018-2022
Provide efficient and accountable data and outcomes tracking to inform regional policy efforts Y/N  and user satisfaction level 2018-2022