What is Upskilling?

Quality talent drives innovation and productivity for businesses, helping them to remain competitive. Similarly, a skilled workforce is a critical component in attracting and retaining businesses in the Denver South region. But what is a skilled workforce? Commonly, it refers to labor that has specialized skills to perform job duties effectively. Skills that were acquired through degreed education, specialized training, or certifications. 

Technology, digital transformation, and COVID-19 are shifting how we live and work.  Emerging technologies are creating jobs, and skill sets, that have not existed before.  Often referred to as the future of work, there is an anticipated disparity between the future demand for skilled workers and how we prepare our workforce for a technological future.

Why is upskilling important? To combat the gap between the demand and availability of skilled labor, upskilling is the process of continuous learning, training, and development of skills to meet the current and future demands of businesses. The benefit of upskilling is typically shared among the individual, the business, the economy, and the community.  

There is Opportunity in Every…pandemic? 

COVID-19 has permanently altered the labor market, leaving many across the US unemployed or furloughed. Many industries have experienced major setbacks from the pandemic, including transportation, hospitality, and restaurants. At the same time, many industries are thriving and continue to hire new employees. For example, software engineers continue to be in high demand nationwide, with more open positions than there are skilled individuals to fill them. The pandemic, and resulting job losses, have made it even more important to find new and innovative ways to train workers. Here is where the opportunity lies. Businesses, higher-education, state and local governments, non-profits, and others are collaborating to provide training and skill development so that displaced workers can find employment in the growing industry sectors of our economy. 

Resources in Denver South and Statewide

  • Lives Empowered Training Academy, a program through the Colorado Workforce Development Council, is designed to upskill retail frontline workers in Colorado to help mitigate the impacts of COVID-19.
  • Skill Advance is Colorado customized job training grant program, providing funds to both new and existing businesses to reimburse costs associated with professional development. Connect with Arapahoe Community College or the Community College of Aurora for more information. 
  • ReTrain Arapahoe concentrates on upskilling and training programs for jobseekers that have been impacted by COVID-19. Managed by Arapahoe Douglas Works! workforce center.
  • Arapahoe Community College and Arapahoe Douglas Works! have teamed up to provide a Virtual Work Readiness Program allowing individuals to upgrade technology skills to thrive in a virtual workforce.
  • OnwardCO is a one-stop resource for those impacted by job loss during COVID-19, featuring a list of training resources for those interested in upskilling and reskilling.


  • Denver South compiled resources for individuals or businesses seeking more information on workforce development in the region.