Providing “Earn While You Learn” Opportunities in Healthcare


The Colorado Healthcare Experiential Pathways to Success (CO-HELPS) program leveraged a $12 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) and over a $5 million dollar match from businesses to create 5,000 adult healthcare apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships between July 2019 and July 2023.

In partnership with the Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE) and the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE), and the Colorado Workforce Development Council (CWDC), CCCS colleges, Emily Griffith Technical College, and Pickens Technical College worked with business and industry to design a curriculum that meets the needs of today’s growing healthcare system.

Industry partners included: Centura Health, Colorado Rural Health Center, HealthONE, Kaiser Permanente, National Healthcareer Association, and UCHealth.

Of the $12 million award, CCCS was awarded an approximately $9 million sub-award to invest in the following three areas:

1. Program Development and Maintenance

Funding to established educational partners to develop, launch, implement, and scale healthcare apprenticeships

2. Program Development and Maintenance

Funding to established educational partners to develop, launch, implement, and scale healthcare apprenticeships

3. Small Business Wage Reimbursements 

Funding to companies to offset apprentice on-the-job-training wages for companies smaller than 50 employees

Recent Highlights

Program development/maintenance applications launched, with initial awards supporting the following occupations, partnerships, and program development:

  • Medical Assistant: Arapahoe Community College and Front Range Community College and Centura Health, including expansion into Western Kansas; Arapahoe Community College with HealthONE
  • Patient Care Technician: Community College of Aurora and HealthONE
  • Pharmacy Technician: Front Range Community College and Centura Health
  • Sterile Processing Technician: Front Range Community College and Centura Health

Additional occupations added since program launch include Medical Coding, Surgical Technology, Licensed Practical Nursing, Certified Medication Aide, and Bio Pharma Manufacturing. Pre-apprenticeships in Public Health, Certified Nursing Assistant, Dental Assistant, and Ophthalmic Medical Technician have also launched.

Targeted Occupations

The following twenty-five occupations were identified as targeted occupations for the CO-HELPS grant.

  • Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (Ultrasound Tech)
  • Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technicians
  • Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists
  • Medical Equipment Preparers (Sterile Processing Tech)
  • Phlebotomists
  • Radiologic Technologists
  • Radiologic Technicians
  • Health Information Technicians
  • Health Services Managers
  • Medical Billers
  • Medical Coders
  • Medical Transcriptionists
  • Home Health Aides
  • Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses
  • Nursing Assistants
  • Nurse Practitioners
  • Registered Nurses
  • Massage Therapists
  • Occupational Therapy Aids
  • Occupational Therapy Assistants
  • Physical Therapy Aids
  • Physical Therapy Assistants
  • Medical Assistants
  • Pharmacy Technicians
  • Physician Assistants

Visit the Colorado Registered Apprenticeship Program Directory to learn more about apprenticeships.

This workforce product was funded by a grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration. The product was created by the grantee and does not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Labor. The U.S. Department of Labor makes no guarantees, warranties, or assurances of any kind, express or implied, with respect to such information, including any information on linked sites and including, but not limited to, accuracy of the information or its completeness, timeliness, usefulness, adequacy, continued availability, or ownership. This product is copyrighted by the institution that created it.

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