by Sam Klomhaus

Mail Staff Writer

Gov. Jared Polis signed an executive order Wednesday creating the Office of the Future of Work.

The office will be a focal point of Colorado’s efforts to respond to changes in the economy and workforce, according to a press release from the governor’s office.

Wendell Pryor, Chaffee County Economic Development Corp. director, said the office’s creation is consistent with what the economic development corporation has been trying to do in Chaffee County by working with employers.

Pryor said they’re trying to upscale the workforce in anticipation of more automation and trying to improve the skills and pay of lower-tier workers.

A lot of the jobs that will exist in 2030 don’t exist yet, Pryor said, and we need to prepare for that.

Polis said the state needs to get ahead of the “gig economy,” in which temporary positions and independent contractors are common.

Everybody’s challenge is how the gig economy will impact retail, Pryor said, and major industries have already been disrupted.

Those disruptions don’t just trickle down to small communities, Pryor said, they’re already here.

“It’s about getting the workforce the skills needed for tomorrow,” Pryor said. “It’s going to be an ongoing thing.”

State Sen. Kerry Donovan (D-Vail) released a statement about the governor’s order: “The way people work is changing, and we have a responsibility to make sure that nobody gets left behind. It shouldn’t matter if you live in a rural or urban area, everyone should have access to the tools necessary to succeed in the 21st century economy.

“I am proud to have worked to make sure that rural Coloradans have access to more and more economic opportunities, and I am proud to be a part of this effort to make sure all Coloradans are prepared for our changing economy.”

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