June 6, 2024

Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC launches program to attract and keep young, talented workers in Colorado Springs

Young professionals listen intently during the 2024 Hello Colorado Springs program launch

The Colorado Springs Chamber & Economic Development Corporation (Chamber & EDC) launched the 2024 edition of the Hello Colorado Springs talent program to attract and keep young, talented workers in Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region. This year’s program brings together 40 interns, from the United States and Canada.

Colorado Springs has immense opportunities for workforce talent, providing well-paying jobs, great outdoors, and amenities, making it the ideal location for talent to locate.  Hello Colorado Springs talent program blends the beautiful Pikes Peak region with interaction with local leaders, enabling talent to grow professionally,” said Johnna Reeder Kleymeyer, President & CEO of Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC. “The program is a great solution to attract and retain high-quality workers to support our local industries.”

The 2024 cohort comprises domestic and foreign interns training for hands-on experience in 12 Colorado Springs organizations, including Bluestaq, Entegris, Boeing, Infinity Systems Engineering, the City of Colorado Springs, and El Paso County. Two interns come from Canada and Iran, while 38 originate from North Carolina, California, Kentucky, Virginia, Indiana, Tennessee, Hawaii, Maine, Washington State, and Colorado. The program will run from June 1 to August 23.

Hello Colorado Springs is part of Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC’s Find Your COS (Pronounced “Cause”) suite of talent initiatives established in 2022 to help employers attract and retain employees in the region. The program is uniquely designed, providing experiential learning opportunities to interns, apprentices, and new hires and immersing them in the beauty and opportunities of the Pikes Peak region to influence their choice to live and work in Colorado Springs.

The Hello Colorado Springs talent program seeks to leverage the region’s strengths exposing young professionals to the possibilities in Colorado Springs and putting the Pikes Peak region at the top of their locations to call home. The program provides optional affordable housing in partnership with Colorado College and more than 10 high-impact, multi-faceted events, infused with interactions with community leaders, decision-makers, and executives to provide interns with opportunities to learn and grow professionally.

Although the labor market has slowed down with fewer layoffs and low unemployment rates, employers and communities across the United States are still reeling from unprecedented labor and talent shortages. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, there are 8.5 million job openings in the United States but only 6.5 million unemployed workers. These shortages are driven by declining labor force participation rates, which remain below the pre-pandemic levels, early retirements, an aging workforce, and a lack of access to high-quality affordable childcare, forcing many parents to stay home and care for their children.

The Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC and local Industry stakeholders understand that tackling talent challenges involves implementing strategic solutions like the Hello Colorado Springs talent program to compete effectively for workforce talent. The present-day workforce requires agile learners who can easily upskill and adjust to the changing needs of our industries. This calls for collaborative efforts between educational institutions, employers, and local government agencies investing in skills development programs to bridge the gap between education and employment.

Data shows that people between 18 and 34 years old are the most likely to move to a new location for a job. A study by Development Counsellors International (DCI) shows that talent prioritizes quality of life, as an initial motivating factor for moving to a new region. The same survey indicates that jobs are again driving relocation, projecting a shift back to the pre-pandemic trends. Of the population surveyed in 2023, 26% of respondents listed relocation as a primary trigger to accept a job. This is a 5% increase from 2021. Tourism is also an influential factor for talent to relocate, with 14% of respondents saying they would move to a new city after visitation.

Ranked by the U.S. News & World Report among the top three best places to live in the United States, and by Zillow’s research as a top market for recent college graduates, Colorado Springs provides workforce talent with great outdoors and social amenities, an innovative business environment, and well-paying jobs that continue to grow. Since 2022, the Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC has announced over 5,000 high-paying jobs, in aerospace and defense, manufacturing, and cybersecurity, which pay an average annual wage of $65,000, more than El Paso County’s average.

Hello Colorado Springs talent program is among the region’s strategic initiatives to compete for a talented workforce to support our local industries. The program will kick-off at 6:30 p.m., today at Weidner Field with events such as Lunch & Learn at Catalyst Campus, speed networking, a Cog Railway experience, Lockheed Martin’s Waterton Campus tour, and others.