Press Release: America Achieves launches Colorado Fellowship focused on enhancing 21st learning and career readiness

For Immediate Release - March 13, 2018
Lance Hostetter, Colorado Program Manager

America Achieves launches Colorado Fellowship focused on enhancing 21st learning and career readiness


DENVER - America Achieves, in partnership with Colorado Succeeds, will launch the Colorado Educator Voice Fellowship for 21st Century Learning this month. This opportunity for some of the state's most innovation-oriented educators will enable Fellows to learn about the rapidly changing economy, build innovative models that bridge the gap from the classroom to careers, develop their knowledge and skills, and make use of their expertise and experience to inform systemic efforts to align education with the evolution and future of work.

Over the last few years, America Achieves has led a variety of national and state Educator Voice Fellowships, including in Colorado, engaging more than 600 leading educators across the country and 135 in Colorado. The new Colorado Fellowship will help educators better understand the knowledge and skills high school graduates will need to be successful in work and life and learn about and develop systemic efforts to align education with the evolution and future of work. The Fellows will also focus on developing sample performance tasks and capstone projects to support student mastery of these essential skills. Resulting capstone projects, and the related instructional tools and resources developed with them, will serve as resources to be used to build greater understanding of and support for career readiness across the state and country.

“Our democracy is at its best when all of our people, from every community, have the education and skills needed to translate hard work into access to good jobs and economic opportunities. Leveraging such opportunities requires deliberate attention to and mastery of the knowledge and skills demanded by the fast-changing world of work in the 21st century,” said America Achieves CEO Jon Schnur. "The Fellows’ efforts to understand these employer needs and develop innovative performance tasks that better prepare young people for future careers holds great promise not just for the schools and districts involved, but for the whole state.”

The Fellowship will launch officially March 15 in Denver with its first convening of the cohort of 27 teachers, school and district leaders, and higher education faculty from nine different Colorado school districts. The Fellows, who were selected through a rigorous application and screening process and earn a stipend for their work, will participate in industry-aligned learning experiences (e.g., site visits, panels, guests speakers) with state leaders and business experts to learn about the changing set of skills, knowledge and preparation students need to be successful in the jobs of the future. Fellows will examine career readiness competencies; visit industry sites statewide to interview leaders about their workforce needs; learn about model career readiness initiatives across the country, and design high-quality, project-based learning experiences and performance tasks. Leveraging their learning with their professional expertise, Fellows will create industry-aligned activities, capstone projects and related tools and resources to
leverage the Colorado graduation requirements to help focus and improve career readiness work across the state.

“While the economy and labor market Colorado students will one day enter are constantly moving targets, one thing is clear: Colorado needs to develop agile learners who can succeed in a future we can’t predict,” said Scott Laband, President of Colorado Succeeds. “By eliminating the silos between educators and employers, the Fellows will create invaluable learning opportunities that prepare Colorado students for Colorado’s ever-evolving workforce. The personal and professional skills participating students develop will ensure they are empowered by technology, rather than displaced it.”

Pinnacol Assurance will host a reception March 15 to recognize the Fellows, highlight the range of 21st century careers available and share thoughts on the employer competencies needed to be successful in industry - one of several sectors Fellows will explore throughout the Fellowship. During the March meeting, in addition to participating in workshops with a variety of state and national experts, Fellows will visit RK Mechanical, a leader in advanced manufacturing and long-time supporter of student apprenticeships and work-based learning.

The 10-month Fellowship is expected to conclude in December 2018. More information about the Fellowship and the 27 educators who have been selected for this initiative can be found at


America Achieves’ mission is to create clear pathways for economic advancement, civic engagement, and success for all in a rapidly changing economy. We work with educators, employers, and other leaders across sectors to build bridges between education and success in work and life. With partners, we create proof points of systemic change and success and build, use, and communicate an evidence base of what works.


Colorado Succeeds is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that brings together business leaders from companies of diverse sizes, sectors, and geographies across Colorado to ensure ALL of Colorado’s kids are educated to their greatest potential, and ALL of Colorado’s businesses have the talented homegrown workforce they need. Colorado Succeeds achieves its goals by communicating and connecting, incubating innovation, and scaling success; and by collaborating with its many education partners, its business coalition of more than 125 companies, as well as its network of chambers of commerce, industry associations, and business and economic roundtables reaching all 64 counties of the state to maximize impact.


Project-Based Learning as a Tool for Career Readiness

Because Someone Asked Me To