Arizona Launches Education Economic Commission for Skilled Workforce Development

Arizona Launches Education Economic Commission for Skilled Workforce Development

Arizona unveils the Education Economic Commission, partnering with global entities to bridge the workforce skills gap and enhance technical education.

Phoenix, Arizona – Arizona’s commitment to bridging the workforce skills gap has taken a significant leap forward. 

The Arizona Department of Education unveiled the formation of the Arizona Education Economic Commission on Thursday, solidifying a dynamic collaboration with international partners.

A Global Partnership for Local Benefits

Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne, spearheaded the announcement. 

He emphasized the state’s collaboration with notable partners โ€“ Switzerland, Taiwan, and the Navajo Nation โ€“ aiming to address the skilled workforce shortage. 

This move enriches the learning experiences for students in the state’s career and technical education programs.

Renowned companies, including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Lucid Motors, and Banner Health, have expressed their commitment to this groundbreaking initiative. 

“These corporate partners will be pivotal in ensuring our educators are equipped with the right skills or even providing educators to instill these essential skills in our students,” Horne stated at the press briefing.

Arizona’s Educational Landscape

Shedding light on the state’s educational endeavors, Colette Chapman, who oversees the state’s adult education and technical programs, said a staggering 90 study programs are available. 

These programs are not just limited to traditional classroom settings; they extend to work-based learning prospects and youth apprenticeships. 

Furthermore, the state boasts 21 state-sponsored adult education programs, operating across a network of 100 sites.

Switzerland’s Century-Long Experience

Balz Abplanalp of the Consulate General of Switzerland in San Francisco illustrated Switzerland’s impressive track record in upskilling its young workforce. 

A striking 70% of Swiss students opt for apprenticeships after compulsory school, a testament to the country’s successful vocational training system. 

“Engaging in apprenticeships drastically reduces one’s risk of unemployment compared to pursuing college education,” Abplanalp noted.

He further emphasized Switzerland’s intent to share its rich apprenticeship expertise with Arizona, reflecting its commitment to fostering a skilled workforce in the U.S.

Taiwan-Arizona: A Flourishing Alliance

Echoing the sentiments of partnership, David Cheng-Han Lee, Director of the Taiwan Ministry of Education, highlighted the burgeoning relationship between Taiwan and Arizona. 

This bond, he remarked, is evident from the ongoing construction of the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. complex in north Phoenix and Arizona’s newly minted trade office in Taiwan.

Lee voiced his enthusiasm for the commission, seeing it as a golden opportunity to foster international cooperation in semiconductor research and talent cultivation.

U-Haul’s Perspective on Workforce Preparedness

On a more personal note, Stuart Shoen, Executive Vice President of U-Haul, shared his perspective on what constitutes a successful individual at U-Haul. 

Beyond academic proficiencies, he emphasized the significance of being career-minded, group-oriented, and service-driven. 

“Our involvement in this program is to impart these values, not just in theory but in practical demonstrations,” Shoen concluded.

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