Training center to hire locals
A new career training and resource center that’s set to open Thursday in northeast Denver will help prepare residents who live near Interstate 70 to work on the massive, $1.2 billion expansion.
Using a $400,000 federal grant that the state received last year, the Colorado Department of Transportation plans to require that 20 percent of the workforce on the project — about 350 workers — come from 15 neighborhoods adjacent to I-70 in Denver and Aurora. CDOT says Gary Community Investments, founded by oilman Sam Gary, also will provide more than $1 million for training and support programs, including child care.
The training center is in Elyria-Swansea at 3600 E. 46th Ave., which formerly housed Anderson Drilling.
It will offer six courses on a flexible schedule and will host networking events and job fairs, CDOT says. The center has three work bays, four training rooms and a heavy equipment yard.
“CDOT is one of only a few DOTs (departments of transportation) in the nation to implement local hiring” programs on projects, said Shailen Bhatt, CDOT’s executive director, in a news release. “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.”
Among officials planning to attend a celebration of the training center’s opening Thursday were state House Speaker Crisanta Duran, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and representatives from the Community College of Denver and Emily Griffith Technical College. The I-70 widening project is set to break ground early next year between Brighton Boulevard and Chambers Road. But it faces environmental lawsuits, and more could be filed by the July 10 deadline.