Series: Hire Me

Ashley Jefcoat / KUNC

Colorado jobs are changing. As early as next year nearly 75 percent will require some type of advanced degree. Right now, only about 57 percent of adults a certificate, two-year or four-year college degree.

This has prompted the Colorado Department of Higher Education to create a master plan to help residents go to and graduate from a postsecondary institution. The goal is for 66 percent of adults to have a postsecondary degree by 2025.

Seth Davis teaching
Stephanie Daniel / KUNC

Williams Jones sticks a magnet to a mix tank pump motor, then bends down and points a strobe light at the machine. He's collecting data to make sure the machine is working properly.

Jones is a PdM lubrication technician and second-class mechanic at the Owens Corning roofing plant in Denver. His job is to monitor the equipment, do preventative maintenance and fix machine parts.

Jones really likes his job.

Spencer Hall and Melissa Henke
Stephanie Daniel / KUNC

Spencer Hall was about 13 or 14 when his life changed.

"I was at my brother's house," said Hall. "We had the police and social worker knock on my brother's door and tell me that they were taking me into foster care."

Hall bounced around a couple different foster homes before joining the army at 18. Seven years and an associate degree later, he transferred to Colorado State University in Fort Collins.

"I always dreamed, dreamed of being a student at a university," said Hall.

Adriana Guzman
Stephanie Daniel / KUNC

Job interviews can be intimidating, especially when you're a teenager. But Adriana Guzman is prepared for the first question: Tell me a little bit about yourself?

"I'm a junior at Skyline High school," she replied. "I'm also enrolled (at) Front Range Community College where I have 30 credits, college credits."

The 17-year-old is trying to land a client management intern job at IBM in Boulder County. Guzman is meeting with an IBM employee, but the interview is a mock one, taking place at the Innovation Center in Longmont.

Dina Klancir and Ecko Gardner-Huff
Stephanie Daniel / KUNC

High school freshman Ecko Gardner-Huff sits in the school library at Sobesky Academy. She's taking a survey of different career options, checking off the jobs that sound the most interesting.

"Help conduct group therapy sessions? Yes," Gardner-Huff marks it with her pencil. "Take care of children or daycare? Yes. Teach high school classes? No."

Gardner-Huff is working with her school counselor Dina Klancir.

University of Northern Colorado

Jenny Sanchez is a first-generation college student.

"My mom stopped at sixth grade and my dad stopped freshman year of high school and they didn't continue from there," she said.

The 19-year-old is a freshman at the University of Northern Colorado (UNC), studying biology and pre-med. She wants to be a pediatrician one day.