Strategic | Where We Engage

Each year the Colorado General Assembly considers 500 or more pieces of legislation. Are you interested in which bills Colorado Concern is tracking during the 2015 legislative session and where each bill is in the process? Click here for an "At a Glance" status sheet, or for a real-time status sheet with additional details, click here.

Colorado Concern Advocacy

Click here to find out what issues Colorado Concern is working on and how you can help, find and contact your elected federal, state and local officials, and learn more about important issues facing businesses in Colorado.

United | Weekly Legislative Update

Colorado Concern produces a weekly newsletter for its members during the Colorado State Legislative Session, January through May. Click here to view archives of these newsletters.

From the President and CEO

The Week in Review: January 26, 2015

Many of you participated in a member survey late last year that asked you as a business leader about your interaction with, and expectation of, our higher education institutions. A special thank you to Regis University for approaching Colorado Concern with the idea of collecting this data.

A summary of the findings follows:

In what areas of study should colleges and universities focus their efforts when educating and preparing business leaders?

Common themes included a focus on communication, technology, critical thinking, finance and organizational management. An interesting comment was noted, "Helping them understand they won't start at the top," indicating that many graduates enter the business world with false expectations about themselves and their work environment.

When making hiring decisions, which education-related factors do you consider most important?

Applied skills in in the professional field were deemed most important. A college or university's reputation was deemed least significant.

What specific work skills do you feel are lacking in recent graduates you are considering for hire?

A predominant theme was a lack of basic skills in writing, math, communication and personal expression. This is followed closely by lack of applied knowledge (noted above as a key factor in hiring), internships and related work experience. A lack of initiative/drive and business understanding was also mentioned.

When you think about hiring employees, how valuable are these employee traits or characteristics to you and your company?

#1 - Morality and Ethics & Initiative (tie)
#2 - Accountability
#3 - Adaptability and Dedication
#4 - Maturity
#5 - Personality, Creativity
Least important: Cultural Sensitivity

Which method of higher education do you believe provides the best student outcomes?

Respondents believe traditional classroom learning provides the best student outcomes, followed closely by hybrid, which includes online courses. Questions exist around online-only programs.

How important is it for colleges and universities to develop skills (list provided) in order to prepare students for business success?

Honest employees with integrity who can communicate and write are what businesses want and need. Next most important skills are critical thinking, problem solving, work ethic and motivation, and dependability/reliability. At the bottom of the importance scale were technical/trade skills, leadership/confidence and economics/finance.

When you think about experiential learning opportunities for students as they might apply to your business or industry, which of the following do you feel contributes the most to employee success?

Respondents ranked all aspects of experiential learning (apprenticeships, internships, service learning, clinical experience, mentorship) as equally important, clearly indicating that any practical experience is necessary and desirable.

To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement: Student outcomes are better when universities and colleges collaborate with businesses.

All respondents agreed, the majority strongly, that student outcome is better when universities and colleges collaborate with business.

Please share the ways in which you or your organization are currently involved with higher education.

The large state systems of higher education are most engaged with the business community. The primary area of engagement is in the fundraising and donor area. This is followed by guest speaker/presentations and internships/mentoring.

If you are NOT currently doing so, are you interested in partnering with one of Colorado's colleges or universities?

Businesses are looking to partner with universities in leadership development, followed closely by internships and mentoring. Businesses are also seeking opportunities to interact with students in a manner that allows for ethical development/corporate responsibility, workforce recruitment and employee engagement and growth.

Nearly half of respondents indicated they did not have a preference with regard to which college or university they work with; they saw value in any relationship that was nurtured.

This information is incredibly valuable - and instructive - to our institutions of higher learning.

If you would like Colorado Concern to connect you with any of our state's colleges or universities, please do not hesitate to contact me at tamra@coloradoconcern.com.

Warmly,

Tamra J. Ward
President and CEO
Colorado Concern

Archived legislative updates can be viewed here.

Committed | Member Survey Highlights

Member engagement is critical in setting our agenda. Each fall our CEOs, business and community leaders provide their feedback to a public policy survey.

Jobs and the Economy

  • Fifty-two percent believe Colorado’s economic situation will be better a year from now. Almost 43 percent feel the economy will be “about the same”.
  • Forty-eight percent feel operating their business in Colorado is about the same as operating in most states. Twenty-four percent feel it is harder to operate in Colorado..

Colorado Concern's Top Five Issues for Elected Officials

  • Recruit and retain companies/job growth strategies.
  • Strengthen the process to put measures on the Colorado ballot.
  • Ensure attempts to ban energy development are stopped.
  • Address issues in multifamily construction defect laws.
  • Further K-12 education reform.

Policy Issues Facing the State of interest to Colorado Concern members

  • Protecting Colorado's business climate by stopping bad legislation and supporting measures that enhance job growth.
  • Recruiting, vetting and electing statewide candidates who have an understanding of business issues.
  • Stopping any attempt to ban energy development in Colorado, legislatively or at the ballot box.

Health Care

  • Nearly all of Colorado Concern members provide health insurance benefits to their employees.
  • A full 76 percent of them have experienced health insurance premium increases in the past year.
  • The majority of members seeing increases experienced premium bumps of 10 percent or more. This has caused half of those members to make changes to how they provide health insurance coverage to their employees.

Elections

Frustration with partisanship is at an all-time high, both in Washington and here at home.

  • Sixty-seven percent of Colorado Concern’s members are interested in learning about modifying our current political primary candidate election process by allowing unaffiliated voters to directly participate in primary elections.
  • Seventy-six percent support or removing the use of the party caucus system.

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