COLORADO SPRINGS — The 26th annual University of Colorado Colorado Springs Economic Forum took place on Thursday from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Ent Center for the Arts at UCCS.

Dr. Tatiana Bailey, the Forum’s director, started the event with an economic presentation focusing on national, state, and local economies.

“One thing I really love is I feel like if you make economics understandable, people show up and I feel very strongly that it’s important to disseminate good, solid information, not snippets,” said Dr. Bailey. “I know it might feel like a little bit like an econ lecture, but people seem to be receptive enough.”

The Pikes Peak Workforce works with Dr. Bailey to give her data on the Pikes Peak region.

“We provide data and really the boots on the ground information to help Tatiana gain what’s on the national trend and state trend compared to how it impacts local businesses and job seekers,” said Traci Marques, Executive Director and CEO of Pikes Peak Workforce Center.

The Economic Forum attracts community members, business leaders, and college students.

“We’re trying to keep that partnership going, trying to think about how businesses can move forward and work with our students in the future and hopefully employ them as well,” said Joe Craig, Interim Faculty Director, UCCS Economic Forum.

The presentation focuses on current economic uncertainties, workforce challenges, and solutions.

“It’s really important that we have educated consumers of information and knowing about economic indicators informs personal decision making, professional decisionmaking, and community decision making,” said Karen Markel, Dean of College of Business at UCCS.

The second half of the event included an expert panel, called Workforce Development: The Linchpin to Sustainable Economic Development.

Panelists included:

· Joe Garcia, Chancellor, Colorado Community College System

· Kimelyn L. Harris, Senior Vice President & ESG Program Director, Bank of America

· Katherine Keegan, MSSW, Director, Colorado Office of the Future of Work

· Dr. Tatiana Bailey, Director, UCCS Economic Forum

· Ron Fitch, President, Grandview Hospital and Pikes Peak Regional Hospital & VP of Operations and Military Affairs, UCHealth Southern Region

The expert panel on Workforce Development: The Linchpin to Sustainable Economic Development.

The panel discussed how to address problems in the workforce by paying workers a living wage and access to early childhood education.

“There’s some challenges ahead when you look at the data, but there’s a lot of great entities we have a great we live in a great place, and there’s a lot of opportunity I think,” said Fitch.

The presentation slides are available to view online.