Nickname in the future for Colorado

In six months, Colorado may have a nickname that will eventually be as recognizable as “The Big Apple,” “The Big Easy” and “Sin City” are for New York, New Orleans and Las Vegas.

The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade is looking to give out-of-state residents quick, simple labels that they can associate with Colorado.

“There’s not really a consistent message for Colorado,” Office of Economic Development and International Trade Director David Thomson said Friday at the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce’s quarterly breakfast.

“We’re working on a brand and we’re hoping in six months we’ll be able to roll that out.”

Creating and marketing a stronger Colorado brand is one of six goals outlined in the Colorado Blueprint, a job creation and retention guide created by Gov. John Hickenlooper’s administration, based on economic development input from all 64 Colorado counties. The first draft of the blueprint was released this week and input from communities will lead to an updated version to be released in November.

Thomson said some changes to his department may help the Western Slope in particular achieve the first goal in that list. The department now has three clusters of focus and one is agriculture and energy.

“They’re hiring more people now for economic development to bring those (energy) jobs back,” Thomson said.

The state can offer tax credits and job training, but Thomson said he will need extra help to entice employers.

“It’s the local community that really can help,” he said.

As for the last goal, Thomson said that means urging universities in the state to hire more professors in degree programs desired by Colorado employers and improving Colorado’s education system. Colorado has the second-highest number of advanced degree-holders in the U.S.  but not all are natives.

“We need to work on K–12 and get students through college to stay here.”


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