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CHAMP – Colorado Helps Advanced Manufacturing Program

About Advanced Manufacturing in Colorado

Advanced Manufacturing is defined as the method to design and produce. Advanced manufacturing uses innovative technology, processes, and methods to improve the quality of production, products, and workforce.

Colorado's 6 Goals to become a Manufacturing Hub:

  1. Build a manufacturing business-friendly environment
  2. Recruit, grow and retain manufacturing business
  3. Increase access to capital
  4. Create and market a stronger Colorado brand for manufacturing
  5. Educate and train the future workforce
  6. Cultivate innovation and technology

House Bill 13-1165

House Bill 13-1165 creates a manufacturing career pathway through middle and high school. It also creates Post-secondary options that:

  • Align with the skills needed in the industry;
  • Include credit for prior learning;
  • Include industry-validated stackable certificates; and
  • Offer multiple entry and exit points for continued education

Statistics – Why we are addressing Advanced Manufacturing

  • 82% percent of manufacturers reported moderate-to-serious gaps in the availability of skilled manufacturing candidates.
  • 56% anticipated the shortage to grow worse in the next 3-5 years.
  • 74% reported that this skill gap has negatively impacted their company’s ability to expand operations.
  • This gap has also resulted in 5% of all manufacturing jobs going unfilled.
  • 15,800 manufacturing positions in Colorado go unfilled every year.
  • In 2012 the most common unfilled jobs included skilled production, design engineers, engineering technologists and machinists – all of which are targeted by the CHAMP grant.
  • The Colorado Advanced Manufacturing Alliance (CAMA) identified two gaps with training programs meeting the needs of the industry:
    1. The lack of a consistent industry voice about their needs
    2. The absence of strong network to facilitate business-to-business activity partnering with educational institutions
  • Advanced Manufacturing represents $17 billion in goods and products for Colorado with 5800 companies across the state that have 151,300 employees.

Median income/salaries for Advanced Manufacturing:

The average annual wage for Colorado employees working in the manufacturing industry is $73,700.16

  • Entry level machinist: 30K
  • Entry level engineer: 73K
  • Executive: 220K

Common manufacturing openings in Colorado:

  • Production workers
  • Quality/inspections workers
  • Assembly technicians
  • Electronics technicians
  • Electrical and mechanical maintenance technicians
  • Engineering technicians


The goal of the CHAMP grant is to address barriers faced by TAA-eligible students as well as returning veterans and adults seeking further higher education. Often career choices are made on time and prerequisites rather than compatibility with the prospective student’s interest and skills. Additionally, a lack of familiarity with education and employment systems including job search strategies creates a barrier not only to higher education, but post-completion employment. Finally, many prospective students and workers in rural areas face transportation barriers.

CHAMP will address these barriers to higher education enrollment and retention by:

  • The CHAMP Navigator will work with students to identify appropriate program and training for students.
  • The CHAMP Navigator will assist in retention and placement, including internships while the student is still in the program.
  • Online/hybrid courses will be made available to assist not only with transportation barriers, but also time limitations for those working one or more jobs.

CHAMP will also work to address employment gap issues in Colorado. Our goals are to:

  • Increase the attainment of manufacturing degrees and certificates that align with industry recognized competencies, skills and certifications to create a pipeline of highly qualified advanced manufacturing industry workers;
  • Redesign “credit for prior learning,” allowing students to accelerate toward degree and credential attainment;
  • Add industry-driven content to manufacturing programs and redesign courses for online/hybrid delivery;
  • Build off existing and emerging manufacturing sector partnerships and career pathway work to develop employer-driven curriculum throughout the grant period; and
  • Use technology to accelerate training and reach a broad audience.

Programs which will be developed/enhanced include:

  • Manufacturing production technician;
  • Industrial maintenance (electrical/mechanical);
  • CNC/manual machining;
  • Inspection and quality control;
  • Welding (Pipe, MIG, TIG);
  • 3D Printing/additive manufacturing;
  • Mechanical/engineering graphics; and
  • Manufacturing supervision

CHAMP colleges will train students for positions in the following occupations:

  • Machining
  • Welding
  • Engineering graphics/CAD
  • Mechatronics/electro-mechanical technicians
  • Manufacturing building trade
  • Supervisory positions within manufacturing

Stacking Certificates

Each of these credentials can be stacked to build up an individual’s qualifications and help them move along a career pathway or up a career ladder. Program’s from the Community College partners will be latticed to fit with MSU Denver’s 4-year degree for ease of transfer.

CHAMP MSU Denver Website by Jesse Sfetsas is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at

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