Center for the Future of Arizona and Arizona Business Education Coalition Join Forces to Support Innovative Career Exploration Platform Arizona Department of Education’s My Future AZ will utilize Pipeline AZ platform and prepare Arizona students for careers in Arizona’s evolving economy
The Arizona Department of Education (ADE) announced it is launching My Future AZ, a new career exploration and planning platform, for students across the state. My Future AZ utilizes proven technology and infrastructure from Pipeline AZ, an Arizona career development and job skills exploration platform, to offer students comprehensive resources and support to plan for their future careers. Originally developed just for high school students, support and funding from the Center for the Future of Arizona (CFA) and Arizona Business Education Coalition (ABEC) will extend the reach of this new tool to middle schoolers, as well.
“By purposefully guiding students through the career exploration and planning process, we hope to better prepare them for achieving their individual vision of success post-graduation,” said Cathie Raymond, Deputy Associate Superintendent at ADE. “My Future AZ is unique in that it will serve as the statewide shared technology infrastructure to provide equitable access to career exploration for all Arizona students.”
A feature of My Future AZ is the ability to link directly to higher education institutions using the platform, as well as to Pipeline AZ, so that students can leverage the platform’s many tools throughout the life of their career journey in Arizona. Pipeline AZ also supports every public 2- and 4-year postsecondary school in the state and is directly integrated and supports the Maricopa County Community College District. School counselors will also receive strategic support through the platform with information to further guide students through the career exploration journey.
Because of the collaboration between ADE, ABEC, CFA and other education systems and programs across the state, My Future AZ will deliver consistent and relevant career possibilities and planning earlier than ever before.
Both CFA and ABEC have engaged in deep career literacy work with dozens of middle schools, and the learning gained through partners in the field enabled ABEC and CFA to provide insight into the strategic direction and critical features of the middle school platform.
“When students have opportunities to identify their skills, interests, and strengths and understand how these can apply to meaningful career paths, they have a sense of purpose and ownership that keeps them engaged. These experiences arm students with the information they need to transition more seamlessly into the next steps required to achieve their goals in education and work beyond middle school and high school,” said Cindy Erwin, Director, College and Career Pathways at CFA. “My Future AZ will help Arizona students do just this.”
“Helping middle school students make informed decisions regarding their education as they prepare to transition into high school and beyond is critical in exciting and motivating students about their futures. As students begin to develop their career identity, they need to be exposed to the myriad of available careers, the skills required for these careers, and how they link to education goals. My Future AZ is an important and necessary tool in connecting young students to the information they need to prepare for the careers of tomorrow,” added Debra Raeder, Vice President of Program Development at ABEC. “ABEC, with support from the Arizona GEAR UP Grant, is excited to be a part of bringing My Future AZ to all middle school students across the State of Arizona.”
My Future AZ will replace the previous standardized tool that was in use for the Education and Career Action Plan (ECAP), which was instituted in 2008 by the Arizona State Board of Education. The new platform will be made available free of charge to all Arizona public school districts and will provide custom dashboards for students’ career development planning.
“Career planning begins with becoming aware of and exploring the local possibilities and pathways to get there, but our research has shown that career exploration, work experiences and career pathways have not received enough emphasis within students' career development,” said Mary Foote, Director of Pipeline AZ, an initiative of the Partnership for Economic Innovation. “My Future AZ will address this by offering an unprecedented amount of resources, support, and guidance for Arizona students at all grade levels, so they can explore career pathways early on and develop a real plan for success.”
My Future AZ is also funded through the ADE Career and Technical Education unit’s Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V). Arizona companies and organizations are encouraged to create employer profiles at pipelineaz.com to connect with job explorers and seekers as My Future AZ is rolled out to public school districts across the state.
ABOUT THE ARIZONA EDUCATION AND BUSINESS COALITION
The Arizona Business & Education Coalition (ABEC) is the coalition of Arizona business and education leaders committed to help create public education policy essential to a vibrant, growing Arizona economy. The coalition is a 501(c)(3), non-partisan, statewide membership organization. The mission of ABEC is to sustain collaboration between business and education leaders, focused on increasing measurable outcomes for every student, by serving as a non-partisan forum to educate others and build political will toward the improvement and investment in K-12, with linkages to pre-kindergarten and higher education, as an element of a superior public education system and economic future for Arizona. See www.azbec.org for more information.
ABOUT THE CENTER FOR THE FUTURE OF ARIZONA
The Center for the Future of Arizona is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that brings Arizonans together to create a stronger and brighter future for our state. We listen to Arizonans to learn what matters most to them, share trusted data about how Arizona is doing, bring critical issues to public attention, and work with communities and leaders to solve public problems. We work across the full spectrum of important issue areas and have deep and ongoing work in education, workforce development and civic health. For more information, visit www.arizonafuture.org.
ABOUT THE ARIZONA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
The Arizona Department of Education (ADE) is the state agency tasked with overseeing Arizona's K-12 public education system by working with local districts and schools across Arizona. ADE is led by Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman, who was elected to the statewide office by Arizona voters in 2018. ADE comprises more than 600 staff across four state offices working to serve Arizona's students, families, educators, and school communities.
ABOUT PIPELINE AZ
Pipeline AZ is a career development and exploration platform that creates pathways to in-demand careers by connecting the dots between industry and education. It uses skills mapping technology to help job seekers discover new paths or level up in their existing careers while also serving as a valuable recruiting tool for employers. Pipeline AZ is an initiative of the Partnership for Economic Innovation. Learn more at pipelineaz.com.
ABOUT PARTNERSHIP FOR ECONOMIC INNOVATION
Partnership for Economic Innovation is a passionate collective of business and community leaders dedicated to accelerating Arizona’s economic opportunities. We believe innovators are problem solvers who come from anywhere, if they have access to pathways to do so — which is why PEI is investing in community-building technology and R&D designed to make Arizona more resilient and empower innovators to bring world-changing ideas to market. PEI initiatives include:
- Pipeline AZ, a career exploration platform creating more transparent pathways to advanced industry jobs and connecting Arizona workers to any training they might need to get there.
- The Connective, Greater Phoenix’s internationally acclaimed Smart Region collaborative, convening cities, industries and entrepreneurs to lay the open innovation groundwork to solve regional challenges.