Our group was initiated in 2017 as a collaboration between the International Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) and Denver area municipal forestry departments and local tree care companies. With a long-term goal of creating a recruiting pipeline for adult job seekers and veterans, the early initiatives of the Partnership focused on developing an arborist apprenticeship and a high school-level pre-apprentice arboriculture training program. As energy increased around these centerpiece initiatives the State of Colorado provided grant funding to establish the Metro Denver Tree Care Sector Partnership, and local industry participation grew.
Due to staffing changes at TCIA in 2018, that organization stepped back and left the work of establishing a Partnership with the local participants. Behind the renewed passion and leadership of municipalities and local business leaders, the developing Partnership focused on bringing an Arborist Apprenticeship program to fruition sustained largely by the initial work of engaged partners from Taddiken Tree Care, Preservation Tree Care, SavATree, City of Aurora Forestry, City of Denver Forestry, and Front Range Community College. Spearheaded by Front Range Community College, the Partnership developed the related learning curriculum and established a way to register apprentices. After exploring the possibility of collaborating with a third-party organization to act as an Arborist Apprenticeship Sponsor, the Partnership decided each company or municipality would be its own Sponsor. This decision alleviated the need to establish uniform criteria for Journeyworker and ultimately allowed each Shop the flexibility to tailor the implementation of the apprenticeship program to meet their specific needs.
In 2019 the Partnership took steps to broaden its impact, re-branding as the Colorado Tree Care Sector Partnership and prioritizing outreach to elicit more industry participation, including partnering with ISA Rocky Mountain and participating in local industry events. Additionally, the Partnership hired a contracted convener to help organize the work of the Partnership, prioritize our goals, and secure continued funding. Our biggest efforts and success of the year however was the launch of the first cohort of 11 apprentices who began their first related learning course at Front Range Community College.