Voice of Young Arizonans

Arizona is surging with energy and growth. Our dynamic urban hubs, rural communities, and regional economies are home to talented young Arizonans who have much to say and to contribute.

Making Arizona the place to be for this next generation of Arizonans is critical to our future and demands our attention.

Young Arizonans want to be heard and to have an impact on what matters most to them and to their future. The Young Talent Progress Meter incorporate the voices we have heard in our journey across the state to listen to what young Arizonans think and care about. We explored what keeps Arizona’s young talent here, their greatest hopes and dreams, and what might make them want to leave. Across the great diversity of experiences and perspectives, we heard some universal truths about what matters most to them: a great education for themselves and for their children, the desire to make an impact, purpose-driven careers, and vibrant and healthy places to live.

Throughout this process, we held 20 focus groups, conducted a survey with 2,000 responses, and launched a new Young Talent Advisory of 25 amazing and dynamic rising leaders from across the state. The short-term objective of this project is to provide Arizona with a set of metrics for the Young Talent Progress Meter, the last of 8 progress meters developed by CFA and its partners to help measure progress on the issues that matter most to Arizonans. The long-term goal is to ensure that Arizona remains a place of great opportunity and “the place to be” for young talent.

For further information on the 20 focus groups held statewide and the stories and input gathered, please download the Voice of Young Arizonans report.

For further information on the Young Talent Survey which gathered 2,000 responses and thousands of comments from young Arizonans statewide, please download the complete report here.

Young Talent Progress Meter

We are now releasing the results of this process and delivering trusted, responsive data on the issues of concern among young people statewide through the newly launched Young Talent Progress Meter. Ultimately, this data will provide a framework for long-term dialogue and action on developing, attracting, and retaining young talent.

Several key themes emerged as central to the concerns and aspirations of young Arizonans:


Community Impact & Responsive Leadership

What we have heard loud and clear is the desire to be listened to, to be engaged, and to have a voice. To find a community, to feel connected, and to have an impact.

Leadership starts with citizens being involved in their government by voicing needs and concerns to elected officials.

Young Talent 2020 Survey Participant

And even more so, young Arizonans want to know that our leaders across sectors are in tune with the values and concerns of those they represent and are thinking long-term about the future.

They are concerned about diverse voices being heard at every level of discussion and ensuring that elected leaders represent the state’s interests


Equitable Access to Opportunity

We know that equitable access to opportunity and upward mobility is of key concern for young people across the state. Current data has illuminated the deep disparities and disproportionate impacts of the pandemic and economic crisis on young people and particularly communities of color. We know these issues are top of mind for young people in Arizona: access to a high quality education, cost of housing, access to good healthcare.

Cost of living and cost of housing are issues that will drive or destroy the Arizona infrastructure and potential for economic growth in years to come.

Young Talent 2020 Survey Participant

In Arizona, our young people are telling us they are concerned. We heard about the education system, the lack of guidance counselors, and the need for support and social services to create a path forward. We heard about the pressures of affording childcare and housing, and the discouraging realities for those entering a challenging job market. These all present meaningful challenges that we must confront head on as a state.


Health & Sustainability

In all parts of the state we heard from young Arizonans the need to reimagine our concept of health and our healthcare system.

The lack of accessibility, especially among the disadvantaged who are unable to afford care and preventive treatment, is appalling.

Young Talent 2020 Survey Participant

We heard of concerns with access and cost, navigating the system, and quality of care. We heard loud and clear the need to bring visibility to the mental health crisis impacting young people, in particular, and to think more holistically about health and well-being.

Young Arizonans are also concerned about long-term vision and planning when it comes to issues like water and environmental sustainability, how to reconcile natural resources with economic growth, and the impacts on generations to come.


Purpose-Driven Careers & Inclusive Workplaces

Workplace culture is one of the foundations to upward mobility and competitive wages.

Young Talent 2020 Survey Participant

For young Arizonans in the workforce, we are hearing more and more their desire to grow and thrive in purpose-filled careers. National trends have shown that Millennials and Gen Z have a strong desire for purpose-filled careers. They care about sustainability, fairness, inclusion and diversity.

Here in Arizona, we heard these same values in our conversations and real concerns about opportunities for advancement and ongoing leadership. Working places where they see a path to growth is important to young Arizonans across the state.


The Arizona We Want
Progress Meters