Last month, Chamber member Cognizant Technology Solutions celebrated the grand opening of a new facility. While they already have a strong presence in Phoenix, Cognizant is expanding in the East Valley with plans to hire more than 500 new employees.
I was pleased to join Cognizant, Governor Doug Ducey, business leaders, and many others at this celebration. It was a great opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate a company that continues to create valuable jobs that boost the Greater Phoenix region’s economy.
After the celebration, Cognizant gathered a roundtable of leaders from companies across all industries. Together they discussed the biggest pain point facing business owners today: workforce.
On a daily basis, as I interact with business owners and leaders, I hear this same refrain. Arizona’s economy is growing. Businesses are looking to expand and working to grow strategically, but the question of talent is always top of mind.
The Chamber’s economic development team, along with our partners, meet with businesses regularly to understand what they need to expand and thrive. Consistently, we hear from businesses about the need for qualified talent to fill empty positions.
In fact, 49% of employers are unable to fill positions in their company. This is hurting business growth as approximately 50% of companies are delaying or nixing growth opportunities. Ultimately, this gap hinderers our economic growth and health.
Almost three years ago, the Greater Phoenix Chamber Board of Directors authorized the launch of the Greater Phoenix Chamber Foundation to focus specifically on solving workforce challenges in our community.
The Chamber Foundation developed four employer-led Workforce Collaboratives that convene industry leaders and education experts to develop solutions to workforce challenges in specific industries. Combined, the collaboratives work with more than 300 industry-specific employers across the Valley.
Last year, each of the collaboratives successfully met key targets and saw results that are moving Phoenix forward, and more importantly, having a positive impact on employers in our region.
In FY 18, the Workforce Collaboratives launched two career awareness websites to attract talent to specific industries and connect that talent to educational opportunities and employers. They created and ran a pilot program that successfully prepared candidates to sit for the Series 7 exam and jump-start a career in the financial services industry. And, they worked diligently to connect students and educators with opportunities to learn about career opportunities in areas of Arizona’s economy that are poised for growth.
As we move forward with this work, the Chamber team is proud to be leading a delegation of business leaders to Washington, D.C., to discuss national workforce issues. We will also participate in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Talent Forward Conference.
With this success, it’s important to remember that there’s still work to be done. In the upcoming year, my team and I look forward to being a champion for growth in our community. By continuing to work collaboratively with businesses, education and workforce development agencies, we can solve the talent gap and develop solutions that