Graduation season is here! After a challenging year for students coping with virtual and hybrid learning, I am proud that ElevateEdAZ, the Greater Phoenix Chamber Foundation’s education initiative, has been innovative through adversity, helping our students branch out and prepare them for long term success. ElevateEdAZ focuses on the grassroot levels of the education movement. To develop a strong talent pipeline, a focus on equal and quality education opportunities for Arizona students is a top priority, while fighting for empowerment of teachers and school workers as we emerge from the pandemic.
ElevateEdAZ is preparing Arizona students for college and career through stronger alignment between business, education, and the community. We have partnered with the Phoenix Union High School District to focus on aligning classes and curriculum with workforce needs, creating opportunities for students to apply academics through work-based learning, and increasing student exposure to career pathways. This fall, we will expand our reach to include Mesa Public Schools. Through Work-Based Learning (WBL), business can influence a generation of students, helping them to not only graduate high school, but graduate on a path toward a high-wage career or high-quality degree program.
ElevateEdAZ recently adopted and launched the CommunityShare platform to connect business professionals into partner schools to provide real-world learning experiences for students. We are leveraging partnerships with local organizations to host High School Career Connect experiences and Virtual Educator Externships, providing students and educators across Arizona with direct experiences to learn from industry professionals, ultimately impacting over 10,000 students across our state. In addition, ElevateEdAZ is focused on increasing the number of high-quality, capstone work-based learning experiences, including student internships, over the coming school year.
The undeniable link between a strong education system and a strong workforce prompted the Chamber to adopt education as one of its primary public policy pillars. I was pleased to see House Bill 2862 pass through the Senate, providing schools and students with critical flexibility in completing required instructional time, which will ultimately lead to stronger outcomes. HB 2826 is a win for business and for students, and the Chamber is optimistic it will receive final approval from the House and be signed into law.
Help me in congratulating our graduates in their achievements, and rest assured the Chamber is here to help moving forward, post-graduation! As Arizona students receive their diplomas this month, I know their futures are bright with the encouragement of legislative support, as well as resources and programs the Greater Phoenix Chamber Foundation has to offer. The sky’s the limit!