As birthrates slow and the population ages, forecasts from Colorado State Demographer Elizabeth Garner spell trouble down the line for the Jefferson County business community.
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As birthrates slow and the population ages, forecasts from Colorado State Demographer Elizabeth Garner spell trouble down the line for the Jefferson County business community. In an effort to combat potential personnel, housing and childcare shortages, the Arvada Chamber of Commerce announced the B.O.L.D. 2026 campaign at Social Capitol on Aug. 25.
The campaign seeks to raise $2.725 million by 2026, of which $2.1 million has already been secured, according to Arvada Chamber of Commerce President Kami Welch. Arvada Mayor Marc Williams announced that the City of Arvada will commit $500,000 to the program, a decision city council unanimously supported.
The initiative seeks to address four key areas; growing talent to meet staffing needs of employers, increasing the area’s stock of workforce housing, increasing childcare capacity for workers and strengthening the business environment.
“Our mission as an organization is to solve the most critical issues plaguing the community,” Welch said. “We have four goals in the B.O.L.D. initiative. These are well-vetted; we used a data-informed approach… There are multiple stakeholders and audiences that will benefit from this.”
Welch said that the chamber’s team would be “calling elected officials more” and submitting grant applications in order to maintain the area as a “favorable place to do business.”
Garner gave a presentation at the kickoff event which detailed a declining under-18 population as a result of a slowing birthrate.
“All of you should be panicking when you see this because everyone will compete for those young adults,” Garner said.
Garner also touched on housing issues. She stated that Colorado has the 12th highest median income in the country but the fourth highest median home value. 126,000 fewer housing units were built in the state from 2010 to 2020 than in the previous decade.
“Typically, what we see over time is job growth drives migration,” Garner said. “A job is a person. A housing unit is where that job sleeps at night. It’s really hard to be pro-job growth and anti-people.
“We’re slowing down,” Garner continued. “We’re still growing, so we’re still needing to know where to put people, but the growth rate is slowing. How do we provide goods and services when we’re flattening out? How do we continue to thrive when we see downward pressure? Everyone is important and essential. We can’t leave anyone behind. Make sure everyone counts, everyone has a place to live.”
Welch said the remaining 33% of the funding sought from the B.O.L.D. initiative will come from the private sector.
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