Like many other facets of the community, education continues to evolve as we hit the official two-year mark of the pandemic on March 11th. Teachers, students, and parents alike have experienced remote, hybrid, and in-person learning while battling a nationwide teacher shortage and funding deficits.

The Chamber is committed to keeping our members updated on the latest trends and connecting businesses with education leaders in upcoming programs and events. The Greater Phoenix Chamber Foundation has been innovative through adversity, helping our students branch out and prepare them for long-term success. Additionally, to develop a strong talent pipeline, a focus on equal and quality education opportunities for Arizona students is a top priority, while fighting for the empowerment of teachers and school workers to drive long-term change in our education system.

ElevateEdAZ

The Greater Phoenix Chamber Foundation doubled down on its mission to develop a stronger workforce by providing enhanced opportunities for students, teachers, and employers. The Foundation’s strategic education initiative, ElevateEdAZ has impacted nearly 20,000 students and connected 70+ businesses and educators through educator externships, networking events, interest and aptitude assessments, work-based learning, and career preparation opportunities. We have partnered with the Phoenix Union High School District and Mesa Public Schools 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. Through Work-Based Learning (WBL), businesses can develop our future workforce, helping students to not only graduate high school but graduate on a path toward a high-wage career or high-quality degree program. ElevateEdAZ collaborates with businesses to offer internships and job shadow opportunities, while also establishing best practices in its Employer Work-Based Learning Guide.

Recently, ElevateEdAZ has secured $1.5 million in new funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies. This funding will ensure that ElevateEdAZ helps even more individuals prepare for college and career opportunities by fostering stronger alignment between education, business, and the community. With Bloomberg Philanthropies’ support, ElevateEdAZ will double its efforts to reach a total of eight high schools beginning next school year. ElevateEdAZ will work with these schools to accelerate and expand highly aligned pathways and increase work-based learning, credential, and early postsecondary credit attainment.

Education Legislation

Education and workforce development have been longtime, top priorities for our public policy team. The Chamber has consistently advocated for appropriate funding to support P-20 education and innovative opportunities to better prepare our workforce. In this Session, the Chamber is supporting two bills that will impact education and are currently moving through the legislative process with positive trajectory.

HB 2122- Continuing High School, Workforce Training

This bill will allow authorized 501c3s to establish and run a continuing high school and workforce training program to provide adult learners with alternative study services to allow them to get a high school diploma and industry-recognized credentials. The bill is being run by Goodwill to start and run their school they just broke ground on. The Chamber is a steadfast supporter of this bill on behalf of Goodwill and other members.

HB 2658- Community Colleges; Adult Education

HB 2658 establishes the Community College Adult Education Workforce Development Program within the State Board of Education (SBE) to provide adult learners with integrated education and training programs as well as support services that lead to a high school diploma or high school equivalency diploma, and an industry-recognized credential or community college degree. This bill not only focuses on helping adult learners obtain a high school diploma but also includes a community college degree that is run directly through an accredited community college.

As schools at all levels continue to adapt, I invite you to join the Greater Phoenix Chamber for two upcoming education events. On April 14th, we will host our 5th annual Valley Voices: The State of Higher Education program featuring NAU president, Dr. José Luis Cruz Rivera, ASU president, Dr. Michael Crow, and UArizona president, Dr. Robert Robbins, The university leaders will share updates from their respective universities, how they’re working together to strengthen Arizona’s talent pipeline, and how business and education can work in tandem toward economic recovery in the years ahead.

On April 28th, we will convene students, teachers, and employers for ElevateEdAZ’s Annual Celebration, where we will highlight the successes and challenges of the past year and present key findings from our Education to Career Pathways Analysis. This event will be a great opportunity to learn more about the impact your company can make by engaging in ElevateEdAZ.

You can count on the Chamber to keep you abreast of the latest education trends and connect you with top leaders to stay informed!

 

 

 

Posted by Annelise Patterson