DENVER -- Starting this school year, a new law will require schools in Colorado to discuss alternatives to college as part of a student's academic and career planning.
House Bill 1041 was sponsored by Republican Representative Phil Covarrubias. He says the goal is to show kids there are many high-paying jobs that don't require a college degree.
"The bill was designed to direct students and give them the opportunity to look at the trades as an option, and also military training as well," Covarrubias told Denver7's Nicole Brady.
Covarrubias, who works in excavation, says Colorado is in desperate need of skilled workers, with 60,000 jobs in construction-related areas that need to be filled.
"That’s the goal here is to train the up and coming workforce and to provide good high paying quality jobs that are desperately needed in Colorado right now," he said.
Covarrubias says while many alternatives to college are already being offered in Colorado, some students and their families aren't getting the information about them.
The law, which is titled, "Inform students and parents of education leading to jobs," requires schools to discuss the various career pathways and types of certificates and jobs to which pathway leads as part of a student's Individual Career and Academic Plan, or ICAP.
Schools must also discuss the skills and opportunities available through military enlistment and they must inform students about how they can concurrently enroll in higher education courses while still in high shool.
Covarrubias says apprenticeships that start in high school can lead to an immediate career path. Some companies also help their apprentices pay for higher education.
"The opportunity to have some of your college payed for by these companies is huge. You’re learning and getting paid while you’re learning, and you can take this with you for the rest of your life."