Throughout the PRF grant, the Colorado Department of Human Services, Colorado Works Division enjoyed hosting annual fatherhood training academies for fatherhood practitioners. These academies served as an opportunity for practitioners to learn more about the field and network with others from across the state. Topics discussed during each academy ranged from working with young, unwed fathers and understanding theories of masculinity, to working with specialized populations and increasing cultural competency, to the road ahead and public awareness and fatherhood.

In 2008, we were pleased to welcome Joe Ehrmann, founder of Building Men and Women for Others, as the keynote presenter at the fatherhood academy. A former Baltimore Colts player and current assistant head football coach at the Gilman School, Joe's work is focused on redefining and reframing the social responsibility of sports. In 2004, he was named the most important coach in America by Parade Magazine.

Joe’s keynote address focused on the idea of masculinity in the U.S. “When did you become a man?” This is a question young men in this country are often asked. Society sends youth and adults many different signals – most often the wrong ones - on what it means to be a man including sexual conquests, violence and athletic victories.

According to Joe one of the single greatest crises in the U.S. today is the question of masculinity and what it means to be a man. This is something that prevents numerous men from being involved in their children’s and family’s lives. How does Joe define being a man? Having the ability to develop meaningful relationships with other men, women and your children. By the end of his presentation, it was clear that Joe was the right person to address our community access funded programs.