Today, Colorado Center on Law and Policy (CCLP) and the National Health Law Program (NHeLP) filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights and the U.S. Department of Justice.
Bethany Pray provided testimony for Senate Bill 24-093, Continuity of Health-Care Coverage Change. CCLP is in support of SB24-093.
CCLP Policy Fellow, Milena Castañeda testified at the Medical Services Board meeting regarding emergency rules for the NEMT.
Chaer Robert provided testimony against House Bill 24-1065, Reduction of State Income Taxes. CCLP is in opposition of HB24-1065.
CCLP awarded 2023 Spring Intercultural Champion by Spring Institute
Colorado Center on Law and Policy was awarded 2023 Spring Intercultural Champion by the Spring Institute. Chaer Robert, CCLP’s Legislative Director, accepted the award on the organization’s behalf with her acceptance speech provided below.
I am truly honored to accept this award on behalf of Colorado Center on Law and Policy. In my 10 years with CCLP and coordinating the Skills2Compete Colorado Coalition. Working with Paula Schriefer and the Spring Institute staff has been a tremendous amount of fun, and our mutually supportive partnership has accomplished plenty. Colorado is so lucky to have an organization like Spring Institute to ensure the state values the perspective, skills, energy, and talent that refugees and immigrants bring to this state. Spring Institute builds a sense of community between its participants from different cultures and opens the policy world to the voices, needs and contributions of refugees and immigrants.
With her energetic leadership, Paula had an immediate impact when she became the head of Spring Institute. During the years that refugee admissions dried to a trickle, Spring Institute expanded its scope and offerings to immigrants already in Colorado, such as the Welcome Back Program and the Interpreter network. Paula lit up the National Skills Coalition conference we attended together, highlighting the critical role of Adult Education in the spectrum of workforce training.
Through the years Skills2Compete worked with Spring Institute and Mathew Mengesha on their legislative agenda, including allowing in-state tuition for refugees who were translators for the military, establishing the Office of New Americans [within the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment], and credentialling International Medical graduates. Spring Institute supported us in our work to establish an employment support services fund to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit and pay a state-level Child Tax Credit.
In 2013, CCLP worked on a bill to establish state funding (although it was less than $1 million statewide) for Adult Education programs that partnered with workforce training and placement programs. In 2020, Spring Institute led the drive to add partnerships with the K-12 system to eligibility for funding in recognition of parents who were helping their children with literacy and academic success. This year, Paula led the charge for more funding, particularly for Adult Basic Education for students who are in earlier stages of learning to increase literacy and numeracy. The bill also added digital literacy to the scope of Adult Education. Teachers were already helping their students (and often themselves) adapt to the online world during the pandemic. This bill acknowledged that work. The bill did pass, and it tripled state funding for Adult Education, increasing it from less than $1 million statewide to $3 million statewide. This extra funding should enable more programs to be funded across the state and potentially to increase the funding level. For too long Colorado could fund only a small number of Adult Education providers across the state with state funding, based on grant competition, with modest funding that barely paid to hire a teacher let alone fund a whole program.
Spring Institute for Intercultural Learning has been an inspirational and important partner in the work of Colorado Center on Law and Policy and the Skills2Compete Coalition in the extensive Digital Equity, Literacy, and Inclusion Initiative that Skills2Compete began in 2020. Laura Ware and Charles Brennan [from CCLP] were lead staff on this. This particular work, and the increased collaboration between CCLP and Spring Institute expanded in 2021-23 as the state, nation, and world found itself increasingly relying on digital technology. The use of different devices and equipment, and affordable connectivity at the local and statewide level and access to responsive skill-building opportunities and support to adopt the use of technology on a daily basis became a critical need. This collaboration led to receiving some funding that focused on how technology and its required use was having positive or potentially adverse impacts on different populations, and what recommendations should be made to state agencies to address these different impacts.
This Digital Equity, Literacy, and Inclusion Initiative and the related collaboration by CCLP, Spring Institute, and a third community partner—Center for Work Education Employment (CWEE)—facilitated listening sessions, interviews, and surveys with different communities across Colorado. We share our findings with each other, the Skills2Compete Coalition, and the state agencies and other stakeholders who are promoting digital access in all parts of Colorado.
Spring Institute has been instrumental in reaching individuals and communities that would otherwise be overlooked during these listening sessions and collection of perspectives. As a result, these findings will help to influence how public funding is allocated in different areas over the next two to three years. Skills2Compete values the involvement of Spring Institute in its work more than can be expressed, and hearing the perspectives of adult learners, including those in ESL (English as a Second Language) programs. Spring’s work has been key in submitting recommendations for the State Digital Equity Plan that truly represent Colorado communities.
Thank you to Spring Institute for your amazing and unique work that enriches the overall reach of Skills2Compete, and for this special recognition to Colorado Center on Law and Policy, today. A special thank you to Amanda Bent and Paula Shriefer along with Emily Ochoa for their commitment to performing these diverse listening sessions and surveys.