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Strengthening Arizona’s Workforce to Build The Arizona We Want

Posted on February 24, 2022 • Categories: Story, The Arizona We Want in ActionBy Jacey West, Center for the Future of Arizona

In partnership with The Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program (EOP) and with the support of Walmart, Center for the Future of Arizona (CFA) successfully launched our first-ever Greater Phoenix Workforce Leadership Academy (Academy). Part of The Aspen Institute's national network of leaders, this local program supports Arizona’s nonprofit, government, academic, and business leaders while challenging them to develop solutions for systemic change in Arizona, making it a win-win for our state’s leaders and workforce.

Over the last 10 months, 20 workforce development professionals across Greater Phoenix virtually gathered to participate in a leadership development experience aimed at improving economic mobility and creating innovative solutions to the challenges faced by workers and businesses in Arizona.

The Academy Fellows built connections and collectively developed a series of recommendations for long-term sustainable solutions to address workforce challenges in Arizona, including improving job quality and increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace.

“The Workforce Leadership Academy has been one of the best experiences I’ve had within workforce development in my 12 years in this industry. The Academy unlocks the code for workforce development and provides each Fellow with the tools and knowledge to transform this region,” said James Montoya, Workforce Project Manager with Arizona@Work.

On February 24, 2022, the Academy Fellows unveiled their innovations and recommendations developed through their Academy experience at an event designed to spur dialogue, input, and action among stakeholders and leaders in the state, and ultimately work collaboratively to benefit Arizona's workforce development ecosystem.

Fellows worked in four collaborative working groups, each with a specific workforce goal. Their groups and the resulting presentations covered the following topics: youth workforce navigation, improving job quality to address the Great Resignation and the unemployment gap, supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace, and collaboration.

Watch the event to see the Academy Fellows’ full presentations and recommendations to strengthen Arizona's workforce system.

View the presentation handouts.

"I came into the Academy hoping to bridge the gap between non-occupational academia and workforce, break silos, and wound up collaboratively partnered with individuals and organizations from areas of the workforce ecosystem I had not considered, all towards greater learning and shared success,” said Miguel Fernandez, a faculty member at Chandler-Gilbert Community College.

CFA wants to see more Arizonans thrive and realize their leadership potential in their own lives and in our community. This work and the impact it has on workforce leaders in our communities around Arizona would not be possible without your charitable contribution. Support future Academy cohorts today.