Promising Policy: Colorado Career Development Incentive Program

The Career Development Incentive Program, or Career Development Success Pilot Program (Colorado House Bill 16-1289), provides financial incentives for school districts and charter schools that encourage high school students from grades 9-12 to complete qualified industry credential programs, internships, residencies, construction pre-apprentice or construction apprenticeship programs, or qualified AP courses.

  • In its first two years, the program received requests for completion of nearly 9,000 industry credentials earned by students and distributed incentives for 3,000 credentials
  • Current funding is $2 million per year, which is an increase from $1 million in 2017. The $3 million of funding over two years has covered one-third of all eligible credentials earned (requests total $9 million). They anticipate receiving at least $6 million in requests in 2018-19.

Incentive Program Reported Credentials Breakdown: 2016-17

How does the program work?

Participating districts and schools receive up to $1,000 in incentive funds for each high school student who successfully completes qualified industry credential programs, internships, apprenticeships, or AP courses. Courses that qualify for the program align with Colorado labor market data, existing secondary programs that correspond with high-growth and high-demand occupations, and business and industry feedback.

Colorado Career Development Incentive Program Facts & Figures


37 school districts (35% rural and 10% charter) in Colorado reported students who completed qualified industry credential programs or AP computer science courses. This is nearly a 40% increase in school district participation over the 2016-17 school year.


5,689 total qualifying credentials/courses were reported to the program. 31% of credentials were earned in the Skilled Trades & Technical Services, 26% in STEM and IT, 25% in Healthcare and Criminal Justice, and 16% in Hospitality, Human Services, & Education.