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Workforce Diploma Pilot Program

The Workforce Diploma Pilot Program was established in 2019 to support Colorado adults without a high school credential. This program provides financial incentives for eligible providers who are able to re-engage adults and support them in obtaining a high school diploma and other credentials. This is a three-year pilot, and for this first 2019-20 fiscal year, the legislature appropriated $1 million for reimbursement payments to qualified providers. 

Adults eligible to participate in this program must:

  • be at least 21 years old, 
  • be a resident of Colorado, and 
  • not have a high school diploma.

This effort is authorized by the Colorado Revised Statutes 22-10.3-101 and builds on our state’s commitment to ensure Coloradans are engaged and have the needed credentials to elevate our growing economy. The Colorado Department of Education’s (CDE) Office of Adult Education Initiatives (AEI) is administering the pilot program.

Authorizing Legislation

Provider Participation & Timeline

To be eligible for this pilot, providers must be:

  • A public, nonprofit, or private accredited, diploma-granting institution with at least two years of experience providing adult dropout recovery services, including recruitment, learning plan development, and proactive coaching and mentoring; or
  • A local education provider (defined in C.R.S. 22-10-103(7) as an entity that provides appropriate and effective adult education and literacy programs recognized by the Department of Education). 

In this first year of the pilot program, CDE is taking a phased approach to the Request for Qualifications process.

The Intent to Apply was the first step of the Request for Qualifications process to help CDE determine interest from potential providers. This Intent to Apply was due Monday, September 30, 2019. Submitting an Intent to Apply was recommended, but not required, for any entity that plans to submit a Request for Qualifications.

The next step is for qualified providers to submit a response to the Request for Qualifications. The Request for Qualifications was released on Friday, October 18, 2019 and is due to by Monday, November 18, 2019, 11:59 p.m. MT. 

Request for Qualifications

Request for Qualifications Application Introduction (editable Word document)


Outcomes Reimbursements for Eligible Providers

Qualified providers may submit reimbursements by the 15th of each month to the Colorado Department of Education for each eligible learner’s completion or attainment of the following outcomes:

  • $1,000 - accredited high school diploma
  • $250 - each high school half-credit
  • $250 - employability skills certification program equal to at least one Carnegie unit
  • Industry-recognized credentials:
    • $250 - requiring up to 50 hours of training
    • $500 - requiring 51-100 hours of training
    • $750 - requiring more than 100 hours of training

The maximum amount that a qualified provider may receive per eligible learner is $7,000 for the first time the learner is completing the course or training. 

Intent to Apply Data Summary

As the Workforce Diploma Pilot Program is a new law, CDE released an Intent to Apply to better understand the need in Colorado. Although this process was not required, CDE recommended that those interested complete the application. Of the eight potential provider submissions received, 37.5% were public colleges or community colleges, 25% were non-profits, 25% were private companies and 12.5% were libraries. 

Although legislators appropriated $1 million dollars for this pilot, over $1.8 million dollars were proposed in the Intent to Apply responses. The total proposed financial need for each type of reimbursement category is listed in the table below:

Reimbursement Type

Proposed Total Outcomes x Reimbursement

Total Cost Proposed Reimbursement

Completion of an Accredited High School Diploma

487 x $1,000


Completion of a High School Half-Credit

3,265 x $250


Completion of an Employability Skills Certification Program Equal to at Least One Carnegie Unit

292 x $250


Attainment of an Industry-Recognized Credential Requiring Up to 50 Hours of Training

144 x $250


Attainment of an Industry-Recognized Credential Requiring 51-100 Hours of Training

409 x $500


Attainment of an Industry-Recognized Credential Requiring More Than 100 Hours of Training

324 x $750






Helpful Resources:


Please contact the Office of Adult Education Initiatives at either or (303) 866-6640 for further assistance.