Colorado Works Subsidized Training and Employment Program (CW STEP)

Two photos of construction training

The Colorado Works Subsidized Training and Employment Program (CW STEP) helps connect at-risk populations who are eligible for basic cash assistance from Colorado Works (Colorado's federally funded program providing temporary cash assistance for needy families) with crucial professional work experience and opportunity. This interagency collaborative program connects Coloradans facing significant barriers to employment with job opportunities.

CW STEP is administered on a local level with state contractors working with county departments of human services and community-based resources to offer a variety of services to help boost workforce development. The program helps participants work toward earning a living wage, securing permanent employment and creating a brighter economic future for their families. Participants learn valuable skills to prepare for careers in industries with a demonstrated shortage of qualified workers, creating unique opportunities to fill employment gaps and drive Colorado’s economy forward.

Program goals
  • Assist Colorado Works job seekers to attain permanent employment paying livable wages jobs through subsidized training and employment opportunities, including subsidized employment including transitional jobs, apprenticeships, on-the-job training, and paid internships.
  • Increase employment outcomes among Colorado Works job seekers.
  • Increase the number of jobs filled in industries with demonstrated shortages of qualified workers.
Areas of support

CW STEP offers several areas of support for job seekers, including:

  • Subsidized employment: Time-limited, wage-paid work that helps chronically unemployed or underemployed individuals establish work history and develop workplace skills with a goal of obtaining unsubsidized employment.
  • Transitional jobs: A form of subsidized employment combining real work, skill development and support services to help participants overcome substantial barriers to employment.
  • On-the-job training: Combines productive work with the provision of knowledge and skills essential to full, competent performance on the job. The employer and worker/participant engage in a training plan with the goal of full employment in the position.
  • Apprenticeships: An employer-driven, experiential learning model combining on-the-job learning as a paid employee with related classroom instruction in order to increase one’s skill level and wages.
  • Internships: Designed to expose the participant to the work environment, requirements and behavioral expectations of a particular occupation or industry.