Western Pathways Conference Advances Education and Workforce Opportunities

Congratulations and thank you to everyone who contributed to making the 2017 Western Pathways Conference in Denver a success. 

Over 350+ people spoke at and attended the conference's events, exploring new educational options and workforce development opportunities.

Colorado Business Roundtable was honored to be a part of helping everyone make the event possible. Thanks again to everyone that made this possible.

It wasn't all that long ago that "college for all" was the all-too-frequently repeated mantra prescribed to universally improve students' career options and improve the skills available to companies. It sounds like a good idea, so it's easy to see why that has been a concept to rally behind. However, public policy economics is never so simple. In looking at the data and the actual results of various policies around the country, it is becoming ever more clear that this overly-simple approach has not been working for everyone. A new approach is needed to develop career pathways and a talented workforce.

While classic university degrees are still important and have their roles, many students today are coming out of the educational system in large amounts of debt and are unemployed -- or severely underemployed.

Companies too are often finding themselves unable to fill good-paying jobs because of the lack of skills in the workforce. And while this mismatch is currently a problem, there are boundless opportunities in applying better solutions. The conference covered all sorts of perspectives from academia, business, and government.  Through applying the lessons learned, attendees appear to be optimistic about the prospects of better serving students and companies.

Opening up educational options and partnering closer with employers to teach the skills needed seems to be the answer. From corporate training initiatives, to apprenticeships, to nimble niche-based entrepreneurial training courses, the Western Pathways Conference explored these best-practice concepts that are showing success.

One of the speakers, LinkedIn co-founder Allen Blue, brought some interesting numbers from their professional social network's economic graph research. According to that data, the largest gaps here in Denver between companies hiring for jobs and candidates having the matchings qualifications appear to be in 1.) Health Care, 2.) Advanced Manufacturing, and 3.) Information Technologies.

What were your favorite aspects of and key-takeaways from the conference? Email us here

COBRT is still processing the audio from all the breakout sessions as well as the video from the presentations and interviews. In the meantime, please enjoy the following gallery from the first day of the conference:

The following gallery is from the second and third days of the conference:


Again, thanks to all the sponsors and volunteers that made this all possible: