Policy Bits ~ 3 Things to Know & Watch This Week
March 28 – April 1, 2016 ~ Karly Malpiede Andrus
How 3 Colorado Initiatives Could Change Which Lawmakers You Vote For
- Congressional and Legislative boundaries are redrawn every 10 years to ensure adequate representation. There are now competing ballot measures that would reform how those lines are drawn in Colorado. Voting rights activists are displeased with a measure, Initiative 107, which was announced in November 2015, and have issued a direct challenge to it in Initiative 122 and 123. Both routes would create a commission to draw the maps but 107 allows the legislature and the Governor to appoint the commission, Initiatives 122 and 123 would require the legislature, Governor and State Supreme Court to appoint, additionally it would have more robust public transparency requirements including the streaming of all meetings to the public. http://goo.gl/6hhB3l
- The ballot this election year may be very crowded with a variety of issues; in this case three separate measures are dealing with the one issue. Although it can be uninteresting the outcome can directly affect how many advocates for particular issues get elected.
Online Job-Hunting Service for Workers Without Degrees Launches in Colorado
- An online platform called Skillful (skillful.com) is aimed at helping the 62% of Coloradoans without a college degree find skills-based jobs and link them with on the ground training and resources. Additionally, they are working with employers to broaden their talent pool by creating skills-based job descriptions. This is an initiative of the Markle Foundation, a new-York based nonprofit focused on technology, health care and national security; the Colorado agencies involved are the state of Colorado, the Colorado Workforce Development Council and workforce centers, the Colorado Advanced Manufacturing Alliance, the Colorado Technology Association and Goodwill Industries. They will also work with LinkedIn, Civis Analytics and North Star Opinion Research to develop their resources. http://goo.gl/6nIquE
- This idea focuses on middle-skill jobs and according to a Colorado report 40% of the “top jobs”, those with high annual openings and above-average growth rates, do not require a four-year degree.
Comcast Expands “Internet Essentials” to More Public Housing
- Comcast is teaming up with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) ConnectHome initiative on a pilot that will expand eligibility for the Internet Essentials program for the 8th time in 5 years. This program, which was initially a way to help low-income families with school age kids connect but has expanded to low-income seniors and college students. The program now connects 600,000 low-income families and 2015 was the most successful enrollment year yet amid a 30% increase over 2014. http://goo.gl/Mx5S9s
- These tales from the field ties into work local partners like Denver Housing Authority (DHA) are doing through their Digital Inclusion work. Closing the “Digital Divide” is critical to ensuring that community members have the skillsets to succeed to a 21st Century economy and participate fully in an increasingly interconnected society.