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Almost 8,000 Coloradans take cash incentive to return to work as labor shortage continues

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) — In the two weeks since the state of Colorado launched its Colorado Jumpstart Initiative, thousands of people have taken the $1,200 to $1,600 offer to return to the workforce amid a nationwide labor shortage.

According to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, 7,953 people have been enticed to return to work since May 23, receiving either a $1,600 incentive to go back to work full-time in May or $1,200 in June. 

To be eligible for an incentive, Colorado’s unemployed workers must have received at least one week of unemployment benefits of $25 or more between March 28, 2021, and May 16, 2021, and have verified their identities via Coloradans must stay employed for at least eight weeks to receive the full benefit.

Still, many industries are hiring. A Facebook post soliciting workers at the popular North Pole attraction in Cascade has been shared more than 800 times by Monday night.

The owner of The North Pole told KRDO business is well exceeding the number of people visiting in summer 2019. He just needs more staff to keep up with the demand. After fully reopening seven days a week, The North Pole reduced its operating hours back to the off-season due to a lack of employees.

Other popular attractions like the casinos in Cripple Creek have reopened without COVID-19 limitations. However, a Cripple Creek casino manager told KRDO the lack of workers has reached a level of crisis. Rafting businesses in Cañon City say they could also use more river guides.

CovidRecovery / Economy / Local News / Reporter Stories / Video
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Lauren Barnas

Lauren is an anchor and MMJ for KRDO and 13 Investigates. Learn more about Lauren here.



  1. this is no more than rewarding the bad and punishing the good…How can they justify giving cash to a bunch of lazy bums who don’t go to work…and yet don’t give an award to the ones that didn’t listen to the lefts BS about staying at home…hmmmmmmm

    1. That’s happened in many other states, but Colorado is behind on that one. The catch is that there are only about half as many jobs open as there are unemployed people to fill them, so you’re going to be left with lots of people still unemployed through no fault of their own, who no longer have any benefits to fall back on. That’s just contributing to the ranks of the homeless and families below the poverty line. Too many quick “solutions” simply shift the problem instead of actually solving it.

      1. Supply and and demand says that if you need a job and want o advance now is the time while many are just sitting at home. When the jobless benefits stop and the market is flooded with people looking for work because the govt is no longer paying them the person who did it right and got a job now will be the winner. I have no sympathy for anyone who rides out the full unemployment until it ends and can’t find a job. A person who does not work does not eat…. you don’t want to work then you have chosen to be homeless or lose everything. Your choice….no one else.

  2. “thousands of people have taken the $1,200 to $1,600 offer to return to the workforce”
    Meanwhile, thousands of State employees are being furloughed due to the State budget shortfall.

    1. That just moves the problem from the line of unemployed people to the lines of homeless and families below the poverty line, because there aren’t as many available jobs as there are unemployed people.

  3. When the jobless benefits end there will be many crying saying they can’t find a job when they could of been looking/working for the last several months. Then they will say its the govt fault and they need more benefits to stay home.
    I hope people who have taken advantage of the system and are riding out all the jobless benefits as long as they can end up not finding a job. I hope many lose everything for being a mooch.

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