Students classroom deskEach legislative session, our elected officials bring their priorities for bettering Arizona to the state Capitol. The most important among these priorities is, of course, crafting a healthy state budget. As Gov. Doug Ducey and lawmakers determine the finer points of the state’s spending plan, lawmakers also passed – and Ducey signed – the JTED funding restoration bill.

The fact that the bill passed unanimously in both chambers and was signed into law in mid-February shows our leaders’ dedication to providing Arizona students many pathways to success.

“Over the past month, I’ve traveled the state corner to corner. I’ve met with education leaders, teachers, principals, parents and students. They share this commitment to ensuring that all Arizona students are prepared for life after high school graduation – whether college or career,” Governor Ducey said via press release after signing the bill on Feb. 17. “To them, and to all Arizonans, I’m proud to say that the plan I signed today delivers. I thank our legislators – especially Speaker David Gowan and President Andy Biggs – for working swiftly and in good faith to put our kids first.”

A broad coalition including parents, educators, business leaders and elected officials – both Republicans and Democrats – enabled Governor Ducey to deliver on one of his most important priorities for the year, supporting career and technical education (CTE) in Arizona. This bill funds JTEDs, which teach CTE programs.

I applaud the governor and legislative leaders for their swift work in getting this law onto the books, because a robust, 21st century education system is the foundation of a strong economy. CTE provides multiple pathways for students to pursue higher education and better-paying careers.

And information produced through our data-driven, collaborative economic development initiative Phoenix Forward tells us that the top priority of businesses looking to expand is to have a qualified workforce ready to fill the positions they offer. As business advocates, it is our job to deliver to our business owners the employees they need. Delivering on a robust CTE curriculum is important step in fulfilling that obligation.

Posted by Josh Coddington