By increasing the level of residents’ educational achievement and readying workers for present and future careers, Achieve Pinal is aiming to strengthen the workforce in Pinal County.
The project is being run by the Pinal Alliance for Economic Growth.
Achieve Pinal has built their project to fit in line with the Arizona Education Progress Meter, with an added focus on Arizona’s Achieve60AZ efforts. The overall project is focused on four specific sectors:
- Strengthening the K-12 Pipeline – Improving college preparedness and high-school graduation rates.
- Completing Credentials – Impact policies to make it simpler for Pinal County citizens to complete their certificates or college degrees.
- Increasing Access – Increase awareness about options after high school and make them more affordable.
- Aligning Workforce Needs – Engage businesses, governments, and educators to identify and shrink the skills gap.
30,000 jobs are expected to be brought to Pinal County in the near future and will include everything from electric car manufacturers to extreme sports facilities.
Currently, only 29 percent of local adults have education or training beyond high school. It is projected that in the next five years, nearly 70 percent of occupations will require education beyond high school. Achieve Pinal is engaging with students from middle to high school to build a strong workforce for the jobs of the future in an effort create a more competitive and talented structure.
The Achieve Pinal committee also plans on adding career fairs for local high school students in early 2019. The events are expects to help students become exposed to the local career paths and opportunities. The students will not only learn about the jobs, but the companies, salaries, benefits, required education and training, and more.
The career fairs will be unique in nature, proving insight and information that is specific to each of the county’s 12 school districts. The career fair structure will consist of descriptive job presentations and break-out sessions providing one-on-one time with students and company representatives.
In order to get students thinking about their educational and professional future at younger ages, Achieve Pinal is looking to partner with school district officials in order to begin vocation introduction at the seventh-grade level.
Along with career fairs and vocational programs, Achieve Pinal’s efforts also include career days and local business tours. These opportunities will not only make students more aware of opportunities, but to lead them to investing more in their own futures. One example program is a week-long summer camp at Casa Grande Middle School that sets career and educational expectations beyond high school.
The final measure being taken by Achieve Pinal will be to ensure families of students support the cause with the Parent Academy, which will provide parents and guardians with an opportunity to become educated on the college application and financing processes.