The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) has set an ambitious goal of providing Colorado residents with personalized, meaningful career support services no matter their age, background, or stage of their career journey.
Considering the diversity of the Colorado population, as well as its vast terrain, that is no small task. With over five and a half million residents, a quarter of a million of those in semi-isolated rural areas, the CDLE created a mission as demanding as the Colorado weather, and just as varied.
“We cast a really wide net,” Industry Partnership Coordinator, Wendy Corley told VirtualJobShadow.com “to keep Colorado working!”
The CDLE is directly responsible for providing employment services to a diverse range of clients from varying backgrounds and levels of job experience. Many are workers who have been laid off or furloughed, especially those who lost thier jobs due to the pandemic. Others receive training as authorized by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), including at-risk youth and low-income individuals. The CDLE also provides job training and employment services to individuals via lateral state partners, including the Department of Corrections, and the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation where populations may experience disenfranchisement due to barriers faced on their path to fulfilling gainful employment.
To make the mission even more daunting, the CDLE aspires to advance economic opportunities for all Coloradans. Committed to developing and nurturing the state’s workforce, the agency wants all residents to have access to the education and training necessary to keep Colorado thriving.
“Opportunity should be for everyone,” says Corley, “adding that geography, status, or background shouldn’t limit any Coloradans seeking their ideal career.”
With a grand, yet clear mission of providing career and employment opportunities and services to all Coloradans, the CDLE seeks out opportunities to align with other partners to provide meaningful services and career exploration resources.
They soon found that partner in VirtualJobShadow.com whose capable Account Management team readily demonstrated the platform’s power and capabilities to Corley and her colleagues. "Once I really started exploring the platform, I understood its potential," Corley says. "I recognized that this solution could really benefit all the individuals and other partners and customers our systems serve."
With a cloud-based interface, VirtualJobShadow.com’s career-readiness tools are available to all Coloradans regardless of geographic location.
At the moment of login, CDLE clients can access VirtualJobShadow.com’s assessment tools, giving even the most uncertain job seeker a much needed starting point. The clients can then take those assessment results and partner them with VirtualJobShadow.com’s vast library of video content which allows individuals to view many different professionals showcasing their careers and day-to-day work duties.
VirtualJobShadow.com’s benefits extend beyond helping Coloradans simply search for a new career. Clients are able to dive deep and explore a potential career’s education requirements, payscale, and future outlook. To take it a step further, clients can consult current, integrated labor market information not just by career, but by location. They can also brush up on soft skills through a vast library of life skills video content.
Corley points out how this vast resource is helpful for all CDLE clients statewide, whether they're individuals utilizing workforce centers or young people planning their futures.
"The platform removes barriers to career exploration and the 'world of work,'" Corley says, "by providing equity in learning about careers through visual imagery, discovery, assessments, and self-reflection."
VirtualJobShadow.com not only empowers CDLE clients, but also the professionals that advise them. CDLE employees utilize the platform’s administrative reports to track usage as a one-stop case management tool, allowing them to streamline their workload. This in turn frees up more time to focus on the clients, so CDLE employees can engage in more pointed conversations and increase client accountability.
"VirtualJobShadow.com is a huge piece of my job," Corley says.Since VirtualJobShadow.com empowers all Coloradans to become active participants in their futures, it has been available at times to as many as 50 Workforce Centers since 2016 and was quickly expanded to all individuals and other departments that fall under the CDLE umbrella.
WIOA Career Specialists start each client journey with the VirtualJobShadow.com assessments to ascertain where an individual is and set career objectives.
The Department of Corrections uses VirtualJobShadow.com in conjunction with the Pathway Home Grant program which provides eligible, incarcerated individuals in state correctional facilties or local jails with workforce services prior to release by transistioning the participants into re-entry programs for pre-release career success.
"VirtualJobShadow.com can be life-changing for many of these individuals," Corley says, “due to the individuals having been removed from the opportunities and realities of the current workforce.”
“When it comes to the 16-24 year-olds served by the Transition Staff services and/or in certain work-based learning programs,” Corley says, “they are super users, engaging with the video content and other resources to bridge the gap between what they want to do and a concrete action plan on how to accomplish their career goals.
Most of all, VirtualJobShadow.com gives the CDLE the flexibility to work with clients directly or have clients learn independently. "Autonomy for our customers and participants is important," Corley says. "Each individual can create their own unique experience while navigating the platform in a user-focused way."
VirtualJobShadow.com has allowed Workforce Development Programs around the state to further their reach in providing career readiness even in the most rural and disenfranchised areas of the state. VirtualJobShadow.com has truly transformed how the CDLE’s Workforce Development Programs helps Coloradans remain competitive and future-ready in a fast-changing climate.