Published: Feb. 22, 2023

Chris Gustavson

Chris Gustavson

The Research & Innovation Office (RIO) has announced the establishment of a new Workforce Innovation Director position dedicated to helping CU Boulder fulfill local and state needs for next-level talent training, acquisition and retention for research and creative work opportunities.

Chris Gustavson, who has served as director of the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative since 2019, will fill the new position starting on March 1. Stan Hickory, currently New Venture Challenge director, will step into the role of director of the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative. 

“In her previous role as Innovation & Entrepreneurship director, Chris brought together people, programs and resources from across the campus and community and challenged the status quo to drive new ideas and elevate the student experience,” said Massimo Ruzzene, acting vice chancellor for research and innovation and dean of the institutes. “I’m excited for Chris to bring the same passion and collaborative spirit to build RIO’s workforce strategy and support workforce needs.”

In the new workforce innovation role, Gustavson will collaborate with CU Boulder, local and state community ecosystem partners to implement a comprehensive RIO workforce development strategy and plan, driving prioritized initiatives, programs, partnerships and funding opportunities. 

Key priorities of the workforce innovation director include:

  • Collaborating with CU stakeholders to build awareness and advocacy for workforce development
  • Engaging with federal, state and local agencies and the Office of Government and Community Engagement (OGCE) to develop strategies to address key population and industry workforce needs
  • Exploring collaboration opportunities with other higher education organizations to support underserved communities and populations regarding workforce development
  • Collaborating with skill-building organizations within and outside of CU to develop workforce talent
  • Engaging with funding entities to maximize support

“This is an especially exciting time to contribute to research and creative work and RIO’s workforce development goals, as we are seeing a heightened focus and new workforce development funding and partnership opportunities cropping up literally every week,” Gustavson said.

“CU Boulder’s Research & Innovation Office is in a unique position to keep a pulse on future skill needs based on emerging technology that we’re seeing from our campus researchers and innovators, in addition to supporting broader ecosystem efforts to develop workforce solutions based on our state’s needs. Our priorities need to not only include the building of key skills, but creative and flexible access for all learners. I’m thrilled to work with these incredible teams to elevate CU’s, and our vibrant community’s, role in unlocking human potential to drive impact.”