Financial assistance for business training programs

SUN Columnist

The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) and the Colorado Community College System are offering and administering a grant program for businesses that have established, or would like to set up, a customized training program for employees.

The two programs are Colorado First and Existing Industry, which covers those businesses in a start-up phase or those businesses that are in need of employees with a specialized skill.

Here are some of the guidelines. Applicant companies must pay for a minimum of 40 percent of the total training costs. The grant funds can only pay for the direct costs of developing and delivering training. The grant is only applicable to permanent, full-time, non-retail positions in the state with an average company wage of at least $9.79 per hour in a rural community. The Colorado First grant should be used for training for new jobs, training of workers upon first being hired, retraining of workers for new job openings or pre-employment training, lease of training equipment, space, supplies, development of instructional materials and some other guidelines.

Similar funding guidelines exist for the Existing Industry grant especially for upgrading or retraining of workers. The funds cannot be used for wages or stipends to trainees during the training session. This fast-track training is designed to provide job opportunities for those employees and employers seeking a job pool of individuals that are trained and skilled for that industry.

Many times, companies are scared off by a lengthy grant process and the rules and regulations affiliated with the grant. This often cumbersome process is being streamlined and companies’ hands held by Pueblo Community College, the administrator of the grant. They will help you through the process, including closing out the project at the end of the grant cycle. Significant monies can help you offset some of your training costs and like-industries can collaborate on the grant. This collaboration might include training for jobs such as mechanics, brewers and machinery operators, where skills are transferable.

There are several Pagosa industries I can think of that fit the requirements of the two grants. If your company is interested in pursuing either of them, contact the Chamber for the Pueblo Community College contact information.


On Oct. 12 and 13, the Pagosa MAKERS Expo & Tour will be hosted by the Pagosa Arts & Culture Project.

What is a Pagosa MAKER? This Expo is designed to promote our local “MAKERS” and to attract cultural and arts tourists to our community.

This will be a hybrid event, somewhere between a studio tour and a MAKERS expo. The goal is to have a broad and diverse presentation across various artistic and other equally creative categories. There will be a limited number of booth spaces available for each category and the categories are: Art Cars, Fine Art and Crafts, Speakers, Poets and Musicians, Amateur Rocketry, Student Projects, Clothing, Fiber and Quilting, Edible Arts and Molecular Gastronomy, Rube Goldberg Groups, HAM Radio Operators, Brewing or Wine and Spirit Making, Knitting, Crochet and Needlepoint, Unusual Tools or Machines, Inventions, Soaps, Cosmetics and Aromatherapy, and anything else that you MAKE.

Applications and directions for participating in the Expo are available online at Applications must be in to either SHY RABBIT studio or Leanne Goebel by June 30, 2013.

There are also sponsorship or volunteer opportunities for this event. For more information about these two aspects of the event, contact Paula Jo Miller at

These are two exciting new events coming to Pagosa and a lot of work is being invested so that residents and locals alike can partake of the diversity of our community.


We would like to congratulate one of Pagosa’s growing businesses on their recent award. Skywerx Industries has been named to the list of 100 finalists for the “Colorado Companies to Watch.”

These companies in Colorado are representative of growing, successful organizations that develop valuable products and services, create quality jobs and enrich our communities in our state. The final 50 companies will be selected in June and will be honored at a Gala Awards Dinner on June 28 in Denver. Four other southwest Colorado companies made it to the 100 finalists: Airborne Media Group, Chinook Medical Gear, Ecosphere Environmental Services and Freenotes Harmony Park, which are all based in Durango; however, Ecosphere Environmental Services also has an office here in Pagosa Springs. Southwest Colorado holds the record for the most winners of this award of any rural region in the state.

Skywerx Industries is the second Pagosa company to be named to the 100 finalists, with Growing Spaces having been named a Colorado Company to Watch in 2010. We are hopeful that Pagosa will be honoring another noteworthy company in June with Skywerx recognized as a Colorado Company to Watch in 2013. We are impressed that they made it to the list of 100 finalists. Congratulations and good luck to Skywerx.


A reminder: the next Maximizing Your Membership Class will be held at the Chamber on Monday, April 29, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. This free class also includes lunch. Membership coordinator, Jan Santopietro will take you through the steps of getting the best bang for your Chamber buck. Please call and reserve a space at the table so we can ensure enough food is ordered.

Our membership numbers continue to grow and we are pleased to announce another new Chamber member this week. River Sports Bar and Grill joins the fold. Not only does River Sports Bar and Grill have a spectacular deck overlooking the San Juan River, they have great burgers and other delicious food items. At lunch, or after a day on the river or work, enjoy their full bar and growing menu of appetizers and sandwiches while watching the antics on the river or one of the five HD TVs inside. Located on the east end of town, we welcome Dave Jones and the crew at the River Sports Bar and Grill.

We also congratulate renewing member, Re/Max Eagle’s Nest and new owner Mark Floyd on his recent acquisition of this well-established realty office. Mark will continue the professional and comprehensive services that former owners Jim and Deneice Stacy were known for. The office will still be located in the Aspen Village Center.

Our other renewing members this week include Pagosa Dental, Treecology, Aspen Tree Veterinary Clinic, The Loft at the Metro in historic downtown, Pagosa Team Murphy Realty, and Pagosa Office and Storage. From Durango, we have Basin Printing and Imaging and Durango Coca-Cola. In the non-profit arena, we have the American Postal Workers Union renewing.

This story was posted on April 25, 2013.