Economy

Stacy Nick / KUNC

For 30 years, Annie Hamilton has handled casting for many of the television and film projects made in Colorado -- including, most recently, the Jane Fonda/Robert Redford Netflix film, “Our Souls at Night.”

Recently, Hamilton helped conduct an open-casting call for a brand of actor that is becoming more and more sought after in Colorado: “real people.”

“We’re steering away from the beauty and skinny,” she said. “They want real because that’s who the consumers are. That’s who their audience is.”

Matt Bloom/KUNC

As Colorado’s population has grown, so has the oil and gas industry. Its presence is an unavoidable part of the landscape. That’s why volunteer Patricia Nelson said she has spent part of her summer collecting signatures for Initiative 97.

Matt Bloom/KUNC

Bradley Cheetham was about to deliver his fourth or fifth presentation in one month. He’d given so many, he said, he’d nearly lost track.

Pacing back and forth in the hallway outside the Colorado School of Mines classroom, where a crowd of space industry bigwigs awaited him, he shared a few words about life as an entrepreneur.

“Honestly, entrepreneurship is a really hard job,” he said, laughing. “Space is a really hard job. Doing them together does not make either easier.”

Matt Bloom / KUNC

As he walked through the front door of his new 14,000 square foot lab in Wellington, Emek Blair couldn’t help but remember the Craigslist chair.

In 2015, he and the staff of his nutritional supplement company, Valimenta, were moving into the business’ first office space in Fort Collins. The group was dealing with the onslaught of challenges most startups undergo: Money was tight, space was limited and they needed office supplies.

alizz islamic bank / Flickr

Colorado has one of the best employment markets in the country. By 2020 more than 70 percent of those jobs will require some type of advanced degree. But right now, there are not enough qualified workers to fill those positions – only 56 percent of residents have postsecondary education.

Stacy Nick / KUNC

Over the years, Edward Victor Dick has seen a lot of highs and lows in the guitar market.

“You know, in the mid-’80s we thought acoustic instruments were going to be complete dinosaurs because people were playing electric instruments and samplers,” said Dick, the owner of Denver’s Victor Guitar. “Then Eric Clapton came out with his ‘Unplugged’ album.

“After 9/11, it was kind of a bit of a strange experience because business just dropped like a stone,” Dick added. “And we all thought the world was gonna end.”

Stacy Nick / KUNC

When Art Comes to Town: This story is the first in a series as KUNC arts and culture reporter Stacy Nick explores the impact art has on Colorado communities — and the impact those communities have on the art that comes out of them.

Every January for the last 10 years, Claire Beedall and her family have traveled from England to vacation in Breckenridge.

“We come out skiing here normally, but we try and coincide it with the snow sculptures,” Beedall said, referencing the Breckenridge International Snow Sculpting Competition.

Now in its 28th year, the event is an ingrained part of the mountain town’s identity -- almost as much as its slopes.

IECRM

At a recent job fair for prospective electricians in Northglenn, Colorado, one skilled out-of-state worker named Eduardo Havier was looking for a job.

“I’m from Puerto Rico, but I currently live in Louisiana. I came all the way here just to see what you guys had going on.”

Havier flew out from Louisiana for the day, just to attend the job fair. He’s 23 years old, and already has a degree in electrical engineering technology from a community college, but he can’t find employment where he lives.

“I spent so many years and effort trying to pass my classes, I want to work in the field I went to school for. The real situation is if you don’t know anybody at the workplace, you don’t get a job.”

Wikimedia Commons

While outdoor recreation has long been vital to the Colorado economy, a new report says the same is true nationwide. The Boulder-based Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) says outdoor recreation generates $887 billion and supports 7.6 million jobs.

Courtesy of The Lyric

While its new venue is under construction, Fort Collins movie theater The Lyric is taking up temporary residence at an unlikely place: The Masonic Temple.

“I’ve never done anything normal in my life,” joked owner Ben Moser about the theater’s unusual home for the next six months. “So this is just another thing. I think people are pretty used to it by now.”

As the price of retail space in Colorado continues to climb, more artists are popping up in non-traditional spaces to perform and sell their work -- including storefronts, bars and even the home of the Freemasons.

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