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The Honorable Governor Hickenlooper discusses small business and education in Colorado with Axios' Kim Hart. Photo: Danielle Lirette for Axios

At a recent event in Denver, Colorado, Axios Managing Editor Kim Hart talked with key local leaders on the current status and future goals of the state’s small businesses and education system.

The big picture: For insight on Denver's future, we heard from...

  • Dr. Karen Riley, Dean and Professor, Morgridge College of Education, University of Denver
  • Mr. J. J. Ament, CEO, Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation
  • T.H. John Hickenlooper, Governor, Colorado
Dr. Karen Riley
Dr. Karen Riley shares her view on how to expand access to education. Photo: Danielle Lirette for Axios

The education divide and its effects. “The concern that we have is what is going on in rural communities. We are not seeing the same kind of resources utilized or realized. If the school isn’t strong, then you aren’t going to be attracting business and...communities shrink.”

On how we extend resources beyond thriving metro areas and support local businesses:

    • New technology. Riley advocated for building up broadband resources and creating online courses to improve access to education.
    • Partnership. “People in Colorado work together. The universities work together. The private industry works with governmental agencies across the state. We need to be joining with business to say ‘how can we support learning from a distance?’”
Mr. J.J. Ament
Mr. J.J. Ament discusses private and public sector collaboration in promoting education. Photo: Danielle Lirette for Axios

The private sector’s role supporting education. “Business has to take an active leadership role when it comes to education. The goal in 10 years is to have 20,000 youth apprentices in Colorado.”

The importance of investing in communities across the state. “It’s not enough to keep just metro Denver successful. We want to make sure that the parts of Colorado folks see in magazines are thriving and successful.”

Gov. Hickenlooper
The Honorable Governor Hickenlooper discusses the importance of homegrown talent.

Governor Hickenlooper discussed Colorado's booming economy, the fear that it's growing too fast, and why schools are underfunded despite the state's rapid growth.

Economic growth from the ground up. "When I was elected, our economy was in the toilet ... we did a bottom-up economic development process and went out to each county — Colorado has 64 counties — and asked them: what do you want for your economy? What kind of businesses do you want? What kind of jobs? And then we had each county build their own specialized plan."

Some Coloradans' fear that their state's economy is growing too fast. "The key is to grow the way we want to grow, in a real Colorado fashion, and make investments in transit or affordable housing, so we don't feel jeopardized by our success."

The disconnect between the booming economy and underfunded schools in the state. “We’re doing a better job with the dollars we have, but it’s important to get more money ... we need more funding"

Thank you Wells Fargo for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper

3 hours ago - World

Report: U.S. calls for UN-led Afghan peace talks

Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the State Department in Washington, D.C., in February. Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a letter outlining a plan to accelerate peace talks with the Taliban that the U.S. is "considering" a full troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, Afghan outlet TOLOnews first reported Sunday.

Why it matters: In the letter to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, also obtained by Western news outlets, Blinken expresses concern that the Taliban "could make rapid territorial gain" after an American military withdrawal, even with the continuation of U.S. financial aid, as he urges him to embrace his proposal.

Harry and Meghan accuse British royal family of racism

Photo: Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions via Reuters

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle delivered a devastating indictment of the U.K. royal family in their conversation with Oprah Winfrey: Both said unnamed relatives had expressed concern about what the skin tone of their baby would be. And they accused "the firm" of character assassination and "perpetuating falsehoods."

Why it matters: An institution that thrives on myth now faces harsh reality. The explosive two-hour interview gave an unprecedented, unsparing window into the monarchy: Harry said his father and brother "are trapped," and Markle revealed that the the misery of being a working royal drove her to thoughts of suicide.

Updated 6 hours ago - Axios Twin Cities

In photos: Thousands rally for George Floyd ahead of Derek Chauvin's trial

Demonstrators on March 7 outside the Hennepin County Government Center, where the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, charged with murdering George Floyd, will begin in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

Thousands of protesters marched through Minneapolis' streets Sunday, urging justice for George Floyd on the eve of the start of former police officer Derek Chauvin's trial over the 46-year-old's death, per AFP.

The big picture: Chauvin faces charges for second-degree murder and manslaughter over Floyd's death last May, which ignited massive nationwide and global protests against racism and for police reform. His trial is due to start Monday, with jury selection procedures.