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Career Development and Work-Based Learning

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Registration Open: Think Big Conference 2023

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment will be hosting the 2023 Think Big Conference August 28-30 in Loveland, Colorado. Workshops are being planned for people with a passion for working with youth, such as case managers and GSJH staff; adult career coaches looking for fresh perspectives; business service representatives; and important partners such as TANF, SNAP, Veterans, DVR, SWAP, and Youth Empowerment Organizations. Themes will feature training and technical assistance for WIOA, work-based learning, registered apprenticeship, sector strategies, best practices, and more.

Register Here

Hotel Block Information:

A hotel block is available at the Hilton Embassy Suites at $113/night. The deadline for booking in the block is July 31, 2023.


The agenda-at-a-glance is now available. Pre-conference registration will be available soon, and there will be 3 track options.

The PWR of Career Development:

Effective career readiness activities provide students with an opportunity to explore their individual talents and interests, and they can help students understand how those interests intersect with the needs of the labor market. These activities can also equip students with critical opportunities to enhance their skills and earn industry-recognized credentials to improve employability. 

  • Career & Technical Education programs are developed to prepare learners for specific industries.
  • Work-Based Learning Programs create opportunities for learners to get experiential career development outside of the classroom.
  • Labor Market alignment ensures that education programs prepare learners for the skills and competencies needed in today’s workforce.


Essential Skills

Business and education leaders from around the state met in 2016 to develop the statewide description of Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness: "Colorado High School graduates demonstrate the knowledge and skills (competencies) needed to success in postsecondary settings and to advance in career pathways as lifelong learners and contributing citizens." During the conversation about PWR, these leaders agreed on essential skills that are necessary for postsecondary success.

Colorado's high school graduates are: 

  • Communicators
  • Problem Solvers
  • Community Members
  • Empowered Individuals

Career Development strategies support the development of these skills to prepare learners for good jobs

CDE Essential Skills

Professional Development for Career Navigators



Marina Kokotovic