Center for the Future of Arizona brings leaders together to address issues around Attraction, Retention and Development of Arizona’s Talented Young People

Posted on November 8, 2019 • Category: Center for the Future of Arizona



CFA’s Young Talent Advisors group, statewide survey of young people to inform the development and launch of a Young Talent Progress Meter in early 2020

PHOENIX (November 8, 2019) – The Center for the Future of Arizona (CFA) today announced the formation of a Young Talent Advisors group and upcoming statewide survey of young people, both of which will inform the development and launch of a Young Talent Progress Meter early next year.

CFA presented data and initial research findings about the big issues concerning young Arizonans during a special event held at the Nina Mason Pulliam Rio Salado Audubon Center on Wednesday, which brought together emerging and established leaders to discuss how to make Arizona the “place to be” for young talent. See Voice of Young Arizonans 2019 report to learn more about CFA’s initial findings.

Part of CFA’s sharing included recent data from the Arizona Board of Regents (2017) that reveal 81% of college graduates from Arizona’s three public universities stay in the state immediate after graduation. However, 10 years later, only 55% remain in Arizona.

“That is when young people are really hitting their stride professionally and have a great deal to offer employers. We need to understand why they are they leaving and how to retain them long term,” said Sybil Francis, President & CEO, Center for the Future of Arizona. “It is young people and their hopes and dreams and concerns that are driving the work and newest chapter of CFA’s listening journey to understand what matters most to Arizonans, so leaders can use those insights to take actions that build a bright future for our state.”

Young people – particularly in the age range of 18 – 39 – are making key life decisions about their education and that of their children, deciding where they want to live, considering the purchase of a home, starting families and making career choices. The decisions they make and why can tell us a lot about how Arizona is doing in supporting the hopes and dreams of Arizona’s young talent.

During 2018 and 2019, CFA traveled the state, listening to the voices of young Arizonans in more than 20 focus groups. This listening journey has included urban and rural communities, small and large cities, to hear from young people with varying ethnic, socioeconomic, educational and career backgrounds and experiences. This listening tour was the first step in a larger CFA effort to better understand what matters to Arizona’s young people.

“What we have heard from young Arizonans across the state echoes trends we see in the national data,” said Francis. “Across the great diversity of experiences and perspectives, some universal truths about what matters most to Arizona’s young people include:

  • Education: Arizona’s young people understand that education unlocks the doors to a successful future for themselves and for their children. We also know that the quality of the K12 education system is a top priority for employers and their employees when they are making decisions about locating in Arizona.
  • Economic Mobility: Young people are eager for economic mobility. They want to be able to move up in their careers, but they are feeling thwarted.
  • Purposeful Work: Beyond the forces acting on career options and choices, young Arizonans like their peers across the country want to grow and thrive in purpose-filled careers. They want to work for employers who are committed to purpose and impact. In short, they want to make the world a better place, including in their places of work.
  • Community & Inclusivity: Young Arizonans want to be listened to, to be engaged, and to have a voice. And they want all voices from all communities to be heard.

“We want to understand the unique perspectives of Arizona’s young people and ask the right questions. ‘What attracts them to Arizona?’ ‘What makes them stay?’ ‘What might make them want to leave?’, said Francis. “Ultimately bringing young emerging leaders together with established leaders will help us determine how we make Arizona a place where young talent want to come, stay and grow.”

CFA’s Young Talent Advisors is an engagement starting with 25 of Arizona’s young rising stars from across the state who have participated in CFA focus groups. Their commitment to community, their demonstrated leadership, and their vision for Arizona are among the reasons they were selected to be part of this group. They will help CFA explore the issues that impact young Arizonans, identify actions to address these issues, and have committed to working in their own communities to help create the kinds of workplace and community culture young adults seek.

By the end of 2019, CFA will launch a statewide survey to further probe the views of young Arizonans around the state. This will extend its reach to an even broader group of young people to learn about what matters to them.

The results of the survey will inform the development of the Young Talent Progress Meter and will complete CFA’s full set of Arizona Progress Meters, which will represent an important milestone in elevating the needs and interests of Arizona’s young people.

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About the Center for the Future of Arizona
The Center for the Future of Arizona brings Arizonans together to build a bright future for our state. For more information, visit www.arizonafuture.org. @arizonafuture

About The Arizona We Want
The Arizona We Want is a shared vision of success around what matters most to Arizonans that expresses their highest aspirations and hopes for the future. Eight distinct Arizona Progress Meters for Jobs, Education, Young Talent, Health and Well-being, Natural Resources, Infrastructure, Civic Participation and Connected Communities reflect the values and priorities of Arizonans while providing data to help our state achieve success in the areas most important to its communities.

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