Funding Community Colleges A Top Priority
PHOENIX — Governor Doug Ducey today joined Arizona Western College President Dr. Daniel Corr and Arizona Commerce Authority President & CEO Sandra Watson to tout a program aimed at providing skilled workers for Arizona.
“Arizona’s community colleges are an integral part of the engine that drives our economic momentum. And boy, in Arizona do we have momentum,” said Governor Ducey.“Community colleges in Arizona have not only been the secret sauce, but the secret weapon for our transformed economy.”
Arizona is taking a proactive approach to sustain this economic momentum – align industry with education.
The Governor’s proposed budget calls to establish six workforce accelerators in collaboration with community colleges and industry leaders. The intensive, advanced manufacturing training centers will empower Arizonans with the skills needed for the jobs of today and the future.
“We are community colleges, but more importantly, we are colleges of the community,” said Dr. Corr, president of Arizona Western College and Chair of the Arizona Community College Coordinating Council. “We’re training people for today’s jobs and tomorrow’s jobs based on local needs.”
Once built on construction and tourism, Arizona’s economy is now more diversified, with a strong foundation in manufacturing.
“Arizona has experienced a surge of statewide manufacturing success,” said Sandra Watson, president and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority. “Arizona’s advanced manufacturing training centers are critical to maintaining the manufacturing momentum that our state is currently enjoying. This provides our existing employers with ready to work talent and makes Arizona more competitive in attracting additional operations to our state.
The accelerators will mirror the success of Drive48, partnering higher education, the public sector and industry to upskill Arizona’s workforce. Drive48 was launched at Central Arizona College in partnership with Lucid Motors.
In 2016, Lucid Motors selected Pinal County for its advanced manufacturing facility. Now in operation, 1,700 Lucid Motors employees have been training using Drive48’s state-of-the-art tools.
The meeting built upon Governor Ducey's roundtable with community college leaders last week. The leaders from 10 community colleges emphasized the Governor’s commitment to workforce development, noting how the accelerators would open opportunities for all, especially in rural counties.
Announced in Governor Ducey’s 2022 State of the State Address, the workforce accelerators will pave the way for the workforce of the future and further accelerate Arizona’s economic momentum.
As a top selling point for many companies, workforce and talent development is critical for a growing economy.
Much of that momentum can be seen throughout the rural parts of the state.
In December, Leonardo Electronics added 170 jobs in Oro Valley. Lucid Motors commissioned in September its advanced manufacturing facility in Casa Grande, creating 2,000 jobs. CP Technologies created 200 jobs in Prescott in June.
These wins build upon Arizona’s job growth over the last seven years. In January, Governor Ducey announced Arizona has created 400,000 jobs since 2015 and has 3 million jobs for the first time in the history of the state.
In 2021, Governor Ducey signed legislation enabling community colleges to offer four-year degrees. Community colleges are critical for equipping the workforce with much-needed skills. Four year degrees at community colleges will provide additional learning pathways, especially for populations that are historically underrepresented in higher education.
Arizona has a history of strong partnerships among academia, industry leaders and the public sector:
In March 2021, Arizona launched Drive48, an advanced manufacturing training center in Pinal County. The state-of-the-art facility serves the region and state by providing a training center for high-tech manufacturing jobs in fields such as automotive assembly, advanced manufacturing, heavy equipment and more. Housed at Central Arizona College in Pinal County, Drive48 was created in partnership with local government and industry partners, including Lucid Motors.
In 2019, Arizona’s advanced manufacturers, public sector and academic institutions came together to create a first-of-its-kind partnership called the Arizona Advanced Technology Network. Maricopa County Community College District, Central Arizona College and Pima Community College partnered to develop a unified, industry-recognized curriculum specifically designed to teach the skills needed for high-paying, high-tech advanced manufacturing jobs.
In 2020, Intel partnered with the Maricopa County Community College District to launch its first Intel-designed artificial intelligence associate degree program. Intel has also been a longtime partner with the Arizona State University Fulton School of Engineering.
CP Technologies joined forces with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Yavapai College to foster an innovative ecosystem, and plans to leverage the impressive talent produced by these educational institutions in its hiring efforts.