Unleashing Economic Potential Initiative

  • The demand for a highly skilled and adaptable workforce has never been more pressing.
  • Workers need to re-skill and upskill to remain relevant.
  • Arizona needs to focus on upward economic mobility for future generations in a dynamic job market.
  • The role of Arizona community colleges must be expanded to meet these challenges.

This Initiative is a direct response to the evolving needs of both learners and industries in the state and represents a commitment to create and enhance a workforce that can thrive in an era of constant change.

The Arizona community colleges remain focused on advocacy, collaboration and communication to continue to grow the needed workforce in our great state.


2024 Strategic Areas of Focus

  • Innovation and Technology | over 18,000 community college employees/$974 million employee payroll
    • Invest in cutting-edge programs in emerging technologies
    • Curriculum enhancement & redesign

  • Workforce Development | 184,000 jobs – community college graduates
    • Workforce Promise Program
    • Upskilling and Reskilling: Development or enhancement of short-term courses/certificates for rapid skill acquisition

  • High-Quality Education |13.0 billion impact to Arizona’s economy
    • Eliminate barriers to student attainment and success
    • Enhance partnerships with Arizona’s universities to support greater student transfers and student success

  • Industry Partnerships | $17.3 billion – Arizona economy will grow overworking student’s lives
    • Strengthen partnerships with local business & industry to ensure alignment to local workforce needs
    • Create workforce hubs that focus on key industries


Non-Degree Industry Credentials

Arizona is behind the national curve on recognizing the value of non-degree industry credentialing. Arizona does not currently recognize these and as such, does not have a definition for these critical workforce programs that are specifically designed to give students the skills and knowledge they need to meet the needs of Arizona business and industry. We are currently discussing the need for including these programs in statute, defining industry-led workforce credential courses that meet the rigor required for student success.

Demands for a variety of industry credentials continue to increase as more emphasis is being placed on prospective employees having certifications that show mastery in specific skills and training that aren’t designed for careers that require degrees or licensure but are skill mastery driven. Community colleges have been developing these programs for industries in advanced manufacturing sectors, healthcare, cyber security and IT.

For funding and expenditure limitation purposes, the legislature can address this critical workforce need by passing a measure that includes this new category and formula within existing statutory definitions of community college programs.



Extended Community College Funding

  • AC4 supports efforts to expand funding available through Proposition 301
  • AC4 supports increased funding for workforce programs, including the restoration of funding for Maricopa, Pima and Central Arizona colleges.
  • AC4 supports legislative efforts and policy initiatives that enhance partnerships with businesses, industry representatives and educational institutions, provided that decision making remain at the discretion of the local district governing board, or college administration.

Additional Support for Community College’s Providing Integrated Education & Training

Arizona’s community colleges are the largest and most economical provider of integrated education & training and adult basic education in the state. The community colleges favor increasing support and resources to bolster our adult education system. Adult basic education is an important tool that ensures individuals can keep up with today’s quickly changing technological world. Whether continuing education means improving English, completing a GED or learning a new skill, it helps adults gain the skills they need to be successful.

Support for Statewide Early College Models

The community colleges support efforts to fully fund early college programs such as dual enrollment as well as providing tuition assistance for dual enrollment students, stipends to high school teachers and enhancing delivery of concurrent enrollment for schools that don’t have qualified faculty for teaching dual enrollment.