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February 2023

Center for the Future of Arizona: The Arizona We Want
  Welcome to the February 2023 edition of our newsletter! This month’s issue features the Southern Arizona Workforce Leadership Academy application deadline extension, updates on work across the state, and more!  

Arizona Progress Meters Update: Young Talent
  We recently released new Arizona Young Talent Progress Meter data, which show how our state is doing at improving conditions that retain young Arizonans as connected and fulfilled members of our communities.
The data show that access to mental healthcare in Arizona remains a challenge overall. At the same time, there is marked improvement in the youth mental health ranking for the state, in which Arizona progressed from 49th to 29th in the 2023 national report.
Explore the latest updates

Making an Impact
  Our Common Purpose: Discussing Democracy and Civic Renewal in Arizona
Our Common Purpose Group
On Feb. 3, CFA and our partners at the Flinn Foundation and Vitalyst Health Foundation, through the Arizona Civic Life Partnership, welcomed national leaders from the bipartisan Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship, out of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Commission Co-chairs Eric Liu and Stephen Heintz, and Commission member Steven Olikara, spent the day in Phoenix for a series of events with Arizona civic leaders. The events, which included panel discussions and informal conversations about local initiatives to strengthen democracy, built on the Commission’s prior engagement in the Phoenix area. The Commission conducted five listening sessions in 2019 that, along with other sessions around the country, informed its final and bipartisan report, Tammy & SybilOur Common Purpose: Reinventing American Democracy for the 21st Century, which provides community-driven recommendations for responding to the vulnerabilities in our political and civic life.
The event was convened by the Arizona Civic Life Partnership, led by CFA and the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership at the Flinn Foundation, which is working to generate greater dialogue about civic life in Arizona, use data to drive action that strengthens civic engagement, and become a hub for state and national partners to convene, collaborate, and multiply impact.
  Education, Industry, and Community are Working Together for Yuma County
As an organization committed to strengthening Arizona’s education system while supporting workforce readiness through valuable connections between educators and the business community, we applaud our partners at Yuma Union High School District (YUHSD) for hosting its first-ever Workforce Leadership Alliance earlier this month. The event was attended by 90 industry professionals and community members, including CFA’s very own Executive VP Dr. Amanda Burke and College & Career Pathways Project Manager Moises Pimentel, President and CEO of Helios Education Foundation Paul Luna, and President and CEO of Education Forward Arizona Rich Nickel. Held during Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month, the event provided a firsthand look at the skills students are gaining in CTE classes, and an Workforce Leadership Alliancein-depth exploration of workforce development opportunities – and ultimately demonstrated how industry and education can work together to prepare students for college, career and community. We look forward to continued collaboration in Yuma and further advancing The Arizona We Want together.
  Changing What Learning Looks Like: Santa Cruz Unified School District Demonstrates the Possibilities and Positive Impact of Student-Centered Approaches
Peter APLN Group Our partners at Santa Cruz Valley Unified School District (SCVUSD) held an eventful and eye-opening Inquiry Lab in Rio Rico, Ariz. on Feb. 14-16. With the support of CFA’s Arizona Personalized Learning Network (APLN) and our technical assistance partner KnowledgeWorks, SCVUSD has been adopting personalized, competency-based learning and new instructional time models into their district-wide strategies over the past three-and-a-half years. They invited fellow educators to learn about their progress and study their experience. School and district leaders from across the state and beyond were able to see the work in action, and hear from students, teachers, and administrators.
Read more

In the News
Print   Op-ed by CFA President & CEO Dr. Sybil Francis: Arizona Capitol Times, Arizona’s Elected Officials: Don’t Lose Sight of Voter Priorities
Video   Arizona Capitol Times Morning Scoop, “People Over Parties,” hosted by Steve Goldstein and featuring Katherine Gehl and Dr. Sybil Francis
Video   Arizona Horizon on AZ PBS, Discussing the recent “Our Common Purpose” event hosted by The Arizona Civic Life Partnership with Eric Liu from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship
  EdWeek, Letting Students Decide Where Money Should Go: How One District Did It featuring Cyndi Tercero-Sandoval, the family and community engagement manager at the Phoenix Union High School District, on implementing School Participatory Budgeting
  Yuma Daily News, YUHSD brings community and business leaders together for Workforce Leadership Alliance

Upcoming Events
  Application Deadline Extended: Southern Arizona Workforce Leadership Academy
We’re excited to be offering the Workforce Leadership Academy once again, now for Southern Arizona, and in partnership with Pima Community College and the Aspen Institute. This 10-month fellowship program is designed to support leaders in workforce development committed to the advancement of the local workforce system.
The Southern Arizona Academy begins in late March, and applications are due next Friday, March 3.
Apply now
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