You are here

Education Workforce Program


The Education Workforce Program grant cycle ended in September 2023. A list of recipients can be found here.

Overview of Education Workforce Fund

Since March 2020, Colorado districts, BOCES, and other local education agencies (LEAs) have experienced an unprecedented influx of federal funding to support the work of LEAs in transitioning to remote and hybrid learning environments, supporting workforce needs, safely reopening schools, and supporting students in completing the learning interrupted by the pandemic. These funds are a once in a generation opportunity for Colorado's districts to not only recover from the problems caused and exacerbated by the pandemic but also, through the acceleration of learning, emerge from the global health crisis stronger than ever.

As part of these recovery efforts, it is critical for schools and districts to have a strong, talented education workforce to provide safe, in-person learning and address the social, emotional, mental health, and academic impact of the pandemic. This includes ensuring educators, leaders, and support staff are in place and supported as they offer programs to provide in-person learning, address learning loss, complete unfinished learning, and meet the COVID-related needs of Colorado students.

For this reason, the Colorado Department of Education has created an Education Workforce Program to ensure LEAs have the capacity to meet the need for recruiting, retaining, and supporting the educator workforce. This program is funded through the American Rescue Plan's Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER II) funds.

Education Workforce Program Grants

The Education Workforce Program was created to provide funding that supports Colorado LEAs in securing a strong, talented education workforce that can ensure safe in-person learning, address learning loss, complete unfinished learning, and meet the COVID-related needs of Colorado students. Through the assistance funded under this program, LEAs will be able to ensure ongoing and high-quality learning continues for all students.

Eligible Applicants:

Eligible entities may apply for the grant. The term “eligible entity” means

  • A School District on behalf of all or a subset of schools;
    • A non-charter school may not submit a standalone application outside of their district.
  • A Board of Cooperative Services (BOCES);
  • A Charter School authorized by a School District;
  • A Charter School authorized by the Charter School Institute;
  • A Facility School;
  • The Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind;
  • Indian tribe or tribal organization (as such terms are defined in section 4 of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Act (25 U.S.C. 450b)); or
  • A consortium of two or more such agencies, organizations, or entities.

An intermediary unit, such as a Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), may apply for and receive a grant. A consortium of eligible applicants may apply together such as a consortium of local education agencies of community-based organizations. However, one entity must be designated as the lead fiscal agent of the consortium. LEAs may not apply as an individual entity and a consortium entity.

Priority Considerations:

Available grant funding will be distributed to eligible programs based on the application rubric (described in “Application Scoring”). Priority will be given to applications meeting the following priority considerations:

  • Demonstration of workforce shortages and needs; and
  • Applications with a clear and actionable plan for recruiting, retaining, and developing educators and achieving the goals of this program.

Allowable Use of Funds:

Funds must be expended in a way that aligns with the plans submitted through the application and align with the allowable uses as defined through ARP ESSER II and all expenditures must be allocable, allowable, and reasonable as defined by 2 CFR 200. These funds are specific to this program, the Education Workforce Program, and uses of funds for any other purpose are not allowed.

Examples of allowable activities include, but are not limited to, supporting LEAs in:

  • Increasing educator and staff compensation;
  • Building and maintaining a cadre of high-quality substitute educators;
  • Supporting educator well-being, including improved working conditions;
  • Increasing the availability of qualified adults and personnel to support educators, students, and staff; and
  • Making investments in grow your own programs and the educator pipeline.

Please see the U.S. Department of Education's "ED COVID-19 HANDBOOK: Roadmap to Reopening Safely and Meeting All Students' Needs (PDF)" for examples of how to implement these and other allowable activities.

Unallowable uses of funds include but are not limited to:

  • Salary and benefits for executives; and
  • The purchase or rehabilitation of real property.