New Colorado project aims to close the poverty gap

March 12, 2015

This morning, I attended a meeting downtown Denver about a new initiative from the state government to address poverty and the gap between the disadvantaged and advantaged.  

It's called the Colorado Opportunity Project. In a nutshell, the goal is to get as many folks as possible to be middle class by middle age. A similar project in the U.K., which one of the speakers highlighted, defines that as 300 percent of the federal poverty line by age 40.  
The push is collaborative, lead by a trio of state agencies: Health Care Policy and Financing, Public Health and Environment, and Human Services. They aim to make this an evidence-based approach, identifying what the key indicators are during six phases of life and then finding ways to address them. For example, a key indicator for adolescence is graduating from high school with a GPA of 2.5 or greater, and not being a teen parent.  Those who achieve that benchmark are much more likely to get to middle class by middle age status than those who don't.
Speaking to the group of about 200, Gov. John Hickenlooper said his goal is to make Colorado the healthiest state in the nation. He sees this approach as being a promising way to make that happen.
The recently released 2015 Colorado Health Report Card puts Colorado in fairly mediocre territory, earning Cs for infants and kids.