10 a.m. Gov. Ritter will take part in a historic education-reform milestone Tuesday when the state’s K-12 and higher-education governing boards agree on what knowledge, skills and behaviors high school graduates must have in order to enter college and to be ready for the 21st century global workforce. Colorado will become the first state in the country with fully aligned standards from pre-school to college. This also will be the first time inColorado history the State Board of Education and the Colorado Commission on Higher Education have met in a joint session. This is the most significant accomplishment to date from 2008’s Senate Bill 212, the Colorado Achievement Plan for Kids. Location: State Capitol, House Committee Room 112.
1:15 p.m. Gov. Ritter will join U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood for a groundbreaking ceremony for a $32 million Recovery-Act funded project that will repave nine miles of C-470 and portions of a 26-mile bike path. This is one of the largest Recovery Act-funded transportation projects in Colorado. Location: C-470 andAlameda, along
South Rooney Road
. Directions: From C-470, exit at
West Alameda Parkway
and head west. Turn right (north) on
South Rooney Road
and go about ¼ mile. Event will be on the right at the trail head. Parking alongside
South Rooney Road
Affiliated Computer Services Inc. (NYSE: ACS), a Fortune 500 company, announced today it will be expanding operations in Colorado and adding 600 jobs at a new facility near Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs.
“ACS’ decision to locate these jobs in Colorado Springs proves yet again that this is a great state to do business,” Gov. Bill Ritter said. “This announcement is a testament to our efforts to create a business climate that fosters growth and expansion throughout Colorado, even in these tough times. We thank ACS for its decision to expand in Colorado and will continue to support its growth in the state.”
Texas-based ACS has been a leader in the customer care industry for more than 20 years, with more than 34,000 agents in 142 customer care centers around the world. The company is investing $3 million in a new 34,000-square-foot customer-care center and is hiring customer care agents, trainers, managers, and supervisors. Candidates can apply online at www.acs-inc.com.
ACS’ decision follows other recent job-creation announcements, including by DaVita Inc. in Denver, Hexcel Corp. inWindsor, Charles Schwab Corp. in Centennial, Leitner-Poma in Grand Junction, Abound Solar in Longmont and Ascent Solar in Thornton.
According to the Colorado Springs Regional Economic Development Corp., ACS’ expansion and hiring is the eighth job-creation announcement for the community this year, and the largest for the area since 2006.
“Colorado Springs has a highly skilled workforce, some of whom are experiencing the downside of the current economy,” said Mike Kazmierski, president and chief executive officer of the Colorado Springs Regional Economic Development Corporation. “This is excellent news for a large number of our workforce and for our city.”
ACS, a global FORTUNE 500 company with approximately 74,000 people supporting client operations reaching more than 100 countries, provides business process and information technology solutions to world-class commercial and government clients. The company’s Class A common stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “ACS.”
Gov. Ritter will deliver opening remarks to bank executives from Colorado, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico and Wyoming
at the 2009 Five-State Bankers Association’s Convention. Location: Grand Hyatt Hotel,
1750 Welton St., Denver
10 a.m. Gov. Ritter will proclaim today as “State Capitol Life Safety Project Day” to thank and honor the various companies and individuals for their work on the Capitol Life Safety Project, which modernizes the State Capitol. Location: State Capitol, Governor’s Office.
7 p.m. Gov. Ritter will serve as guest conductor for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for part of tonight’s performance at Red Rocks. Location: Red Rocks Amphitheater,
18300 W. Alameda Parkway
Vice President Joe Biden and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today congratulated Colorado for its swift work to move highway projects forward with Recovery Act dollars. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, signed into law in February in Denver by President Obama, requires that states commit 50 percent of their highway funds by June 29, 2009.Colorado reached that milestone on May 7.
In fact, CDOT has already committed three-quarters of its Recovery Act dollars and has advertised for bids on 35 projects. Work has begun or will start soon on 12 projects. Colorado ranks in the top half of states for quickly advancing projects from the drawing board to the pavement.
“CDOT has done a terrific job of stepping up to the plate to quickly use Recovery Act funds to create jobs and invest inColorado‘s critical transportation infrastructure,” Gov. Ritter said. “During this difficult economic time, it is important for all state agencies to move aggressively and take advantage of all opportunities to help the people of Colorado.”
As of today, Colorado‘s largest ARRA project that will soon begin is the rehabilitation of C-470 in Douglas County from US 85 to I-25. The $22.3 million project, completely ARRA-funded, will include concrete replacement, installing intelligent transportation systems and resurfacing. This project’s primary benefits will include improved safety, mobility and pavement preservation on C-470. Portions of the C-470 bike path also will be rebuilt as part of the project.
“We have been working very hard to get projects advertised and under construction quickly,” said CDOT Executive Director Russ George. “More and more people are getting back to work as these projects get underway across the state.”
Nationwide, to date, $19 billion has been obligated to fund over 5,300 approved for highway and other transportation projects nationwide. Of those, 1,900 projects are already underway.
“Our number one priority with the Recovery Act is getting folks back to work – and there is no better way to do that in these early days than by putting shovels in the ground and jump-starting projects like these that create jobs and boost local communities,” said Vice President Biden. “By delivering on these projects ahead of schedule and under-budget, we have been able to do even more than we expected — create more job opportunities more quickly, with more dollars left over to put toward more projects that put people back on the job.”
Gov. Bill Ritter today directed his Cabinet members to submit plans and ideas on how to reduce their budgets by 10 percent. The Governor also said more employee furloughs and other personnel reductions will be necessary to close a $384 million budget gap in the fiscal year that starts July 1.
“We will go through each of the department submittals line-by-line and item-by-item as we determine how best to balance the budget,” Gov. Ritter said. “We’ll do it thoughtfully and carefully, the way we’ve been doing it, and we’ll make sure our priorities and values are reflected in the cuts.”
Department heads must submit their plans to the Governor by July 20. Reductions will be implemented in August, reviewed by the legislature’s Joint Budget Committee in September and ratified by legislature in January.
The reductions come on top of $1.4 billion of budget-balancing steps already taken for FY08-09 and FY09-10. State employees currently are scheduled to take four unpaid furlough days in FY09-10, and Gov. Ritter said more will be needed. The shortfalls are the ongoing result of the recession, which continues to mean lower-than-expected revenues, particular in the areas of personal income and sales taxes.
“Over the past few days, I have talked with members of the JBC and leadership from both parties,” Gov. Ritter said. “We all agree we need to move quickly to close the shortfall and keep the budget balanced – and we are.
“We will continue to make the tough choices we’ve been making for nearly a year,” Gov. Ritter said. “We’ve been thoughtful and responsible in our approach – being more efficient, investing in better ways to do business, and protecting the delivery of vital services.
“We’re positioning Colorado to lead this country out of the recession. Earlier this month, even Moody’s predicted thatColorado will be one of the first five state’s to emerge from the downturn.
“As Governor, I will continue to ensure we have both a balanced budget and a vision for building the Colorado our children and grandchildren deserve.”
Gov. Ritter will be visiting Buena Vista, Salida and Gunnison on Friday, June 26:
10 a.m. Buena Vista
– Gov. Ritter will take part in a news conference to announce the launch of a new website for Collegiate Peaks Geotourism Initiative. The website, www.travelgreencolorado.com
, will go live with the announcement. Location: Community park at
926 Main St.
, Buena Vista.
Noon Salida –
Gov. Ritter will hold a town hall meeting with local residents to discuss issues of local concern, the economy and other statewide topics. Location: Steamplant Event Center,
220 W. Sackett Ave.
3:30 p.m. Gunnison –
Gov. Ritter will tour the Hartman Rocks Recreation Area to highlight the $4 million that will be coming to the Gunnison
area from the federal Recovery Act. Directions: Head west on Highway 50 from downtown Gunnison, turn left on
Gold Basin Road
(follow the Brown signs), and turn right into the base area for Hartman Rocks. Follow road through Base area and up the main hill.
6:30 p.m. Gunnison –
Gov. Ritter will help kick off the 7th
annual Gunnison River Festival
. Location: IOOF Park,
200 N. Main St.
Steamboat Springs – Lt.Gov. Barbara O’Brien today took her Colorado Kids Outdoors tour to Steamboat Springs, visiting a Rocky Mountain Youth Corps site doing trail work and restoration on Snake Island. Rocky Mountain Youth Corps has received Recovery Act funding to help put youth to work and assist local communities.
“This is a wonderful demonstration of our national resources connecting young people to the outdoors,” said Lt. Gov. O’Brien. “The community, the kids, the environment will all benefit from what happens this summer,” she added.
Lt. Gov. O’Brien held a forum for stakeholders in Steamboat Springs, the fifth in a series of statewide forums. She is conducting a Colorado Kids Outdoors tour of the state this summer to find out what communities are doing to reconnect children to the outdoors.
“Colorado has a culture of outdoor activity that is important to our lifestyle. We bike, we hike and we go outdoors year round and we need to pass that culture along to the next generation,” she added.
Nationally, children spend half the time outdoors they did 20 years ago and the childhood obesity rate has doubled. Research studies show that children are connected to electronic devices six and half hours a day.
“We need to understand what works in our communities around Colorado. This is not just about sending our children outside. It’s about what makes them healthier, more ready to learn and more connected to their world,” said Lt. Gov. O’Brien.