By Tori Mason

DENVER (CBS4)– A year after the pandemic caused historic job losses around the country, Colorado’s unemployment rate is 6.4%. As restrictions loosen and the state begins to open, more job opportunities are becoming available in a variety of industries. The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment says the pandemic has changed the types of positions employers are looking to fill.

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“Last month, there were about 280,000 jobs listed on various job sites in Colorado. That’s a 6% increase from the previous month and about a 13% increase from this time last year. It’s slow and steady,” said Cher Haavind with the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. “We have seen an increase in virtual Job opportunities, like call center work or anything that can be performed remotely.”

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Recession-proof jobs like nursing, warehousing and truck drivers are still in high demand, but many Americans will need to pivot to find jobs in this new normal.

“We saw something similar during the Great Recession. Individuals either rescaled, upskilled or went back to school for more education. I think that’s what we’re going to we’re going to see from this pandemic as well,” said Ryan Gedney, Senior Economist at CDLE.

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Gedney says some resumes will need expanding. Many are turning to Arapahoe Community College to get tech skills needed to compete. Arapahoe Community College and Arapahoe/Douglas Works! has a free program to residents who lost their jobs during the pandemic. Their Virtual Work Readiness Program focuses on upgrading technology skillsets.

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“We heard from many of the counselors and the people they’re working with, their clients, were able to find jobs after the session,” said Dr. Rebecca Woulfe, Vice President for Instruction and Provost at Arapahoe Community College. “The majority of the students who attended were individuals over 35.”

Many of the state’s open jobs can’t be done remotely. The industries that couldn’t afford to keep their staff last year are now desperate for workers.

“Connecting Colorado has 3,300 positions in foodservice and restaurant industries. We really want to encourage folks to consider opportunities with those industries, specifically restaurant and hospitality. They were hit so hard by the pandemic, and now we’re reopening and they’re looking to recruit their workforce back,” said Haavind.

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Coloradans can get help with their job search and locate workforce centers at https://cdle.colorado.gov/.

Tori Mason