CDOT pledges to hire 350 from neighborhoods adjacent to I-70 to work on expansion project

The Colorado Department of Transportation unveiled a new career center Thursday aimed at getting residents in and around north Denver ready to work on Interstate 70.

A ribbon cutting for the new career training and resource center, July 6,
 2017. (Courtesy of Councilwoman Robin Kniech)
A ribbon cutting for the new career training and resource center, July 6, 2017. (Courtesy of Councilwoman Robin Kniech)
A ribbon cutting for the new Central 70 Career Training and Resource Center, July 6,
2017. (Courtesy of Councilwoman Robin Kniech)

The Colorado Department of Transportation unveiled a new career center Thursday aimed at getting residents in and around north Denver ready to work on the expansion of Interstate 70.

The Central 70 Career Training and Resource Center will support CDOT’s hiring program that requires 20 percent of those working on the highway project — about 350 people — be employed from 15 Denver and Aurora neighborhoods adjacent to I-70. The hope is that the center at 3600 E. 46th Ave. will help residents get qualified for Central 70 jobs as they become available after construction starts in 2018, CDOT said in a release.

The $1.2 billion widening of I-70 is one of six transformational projects in north Denver.

The hiring program is the first of its kind in Colorado, said Shailen Bhatt, CDOT executive director.

“CDOT is one of only a few DOTs in the nation to implement local hiring, and we are doing this not just by setting hiring goals but by actively reaching out to our partners to create a comprehensive support system that makes a career in construction accessible for everyone,” Bhatt said in a statement.

CDOT is partnering with the city of Denver, National Western Center, Community College of Denver, Emily Griffith Technical College, Colorado Contractors Association and Associated General Contractors. The Denver-based philanthropic organization Gary Community Investments pitched in $1 million to support job training and programs at the center, marking the first time CDOT has partnered with a private foundation.

“By providing access to job training and support services, this program will help local families increase their earning potential, which will positively impact their children’s education, health and future economic outcomes,” said Dave Younggren, president and CEO of Gary Community Investments, in a statement.

The neighborhood career training and resource center will offer six courses with a flexible training schedule in a facility with three work bays, four hands-on training rooms and a yard designated for heavy equipment. The center will also host networking opportunities, including job fairs for construction careers and access to CDOT maintenance job listings, according to the release.

Funding from Gary Community Investments will support additional training classes along with support programs, like child care, that are critical to securing and retaining jobs in the construction industry.

Business & data reporter Adrian D. Garcia can be reached via email at agarcia@denverite.com or twitter.com/adriandgarcia.

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Adrian D. Garcia

Author: Adrian D. Garcia

Adrian D. Garcia is on business and trends for Denverite, serves as treasurer for the Colorado chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and on the board of the Denver Press Club. He can be reached at agarcia@denverite.com.