Here is a message I shared with the College community earlier today:

Pima Community College’s strengthened focus on student success was validated significantly today when Gov. Doug Ducey formally endorsed ACHIEVE60AZ. 

achieve60I was pleased to represent PCC at this exciting event in Phoenix.

ACHIEVE60AZ is an alliance of more than 60 Arizona leaders from community, business, philanthropic and education organizations formed to increase the number of Arizonans earning a job certification or college degree from 42 percent to 60 percent by 2030. Nationally, more than 30 states have set similar goals.

The Governor said: “I applaud the outstanding work of the Achieve60AZ alliance for recognizing the need for many more Arizonans to be prepared with the knowledge and skills they need to secure fulfilling jobs. Not only will this raise the standard of living for many individuals, it will attract more businesses to our great state and keep companies here thriving.”

Arizona lags behind other states in the number of adults who have earned certificates or degrees past high school.  The state’s current educational attainment rate is 42 percent, which is the percentage of individuals between the ages of 25-64 with a certificate, associate or bachelor’s degree or higher.

Arizona’s high-school graduate college-going rates are currently slightly more than 50 percent. This places Arizona 40th in the country, well behind the approximate 75 percent that top-performing states boast.

Addressing this discrepancy is critical to ensuring the state attracts quality employers.  Two of every three jobs in Arizona will require additional training beyond high school by 2020, necessitating the drive for a more educated workforce. Important, in most cases, employees will need more than high school but less than a four-year degree.

That’s why the hard work PCC is doing to develop comprehensive educational pathways that link K-12 and the universities, build relationships with employers, ensure programs align with industry needs, and create a culture of philanthropy is so critical.

Further, it’s the right thing to do for the people of Pima County, where our hard-working young adults are striving to make better lives for themselves and their families.

I encourage you to learn more by visiting ACHIEVE60AZ.  You will find this article on the vital role of community colleges.

You also will see ACHIEVE60AZ’s vision for the future:  If “every child, regardless of background, income or zip code [received] a world-class education – from the early years through college and career, our students would be the most educated, skilled and sought after innovators of the 21st century. Arizona would lead the nation in attracting and growing jobs. Everything from property values to health care to crime rates would be positively impacted.”

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