Friday, September 16th, 2016
By Eileen Klein
Today marks a momentous day for education in Arizona - a day upon which I am proud to stand with key leaders from around the state, along with Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, in announcing Achieve60AZ, a community-based initiative working to boost educational attainment and workforce training for all Arizonans.
Today, we pledge to equip 60 percent of Arizona's population with a post-high school certificate or degree by 2030.
Why? Because our future depends on it.
By 2020, two out of every three jobs in the United States will require some kind of postsecondary education - creating what the Georgetown University Center on Education has projected will be a national shortage of at least 5 million workers with the necessary education and training.
Working together at the intersection of education and Arizona's economy, Achieve60AZ is a broad, community alliance, comprised of 60 organizations throughout the state, united behind a single mission: to advance educational achievement statewide and thus ensure Arizona remains economically competitive.
While Achieve60AZ is just one of many efforts in Arizona aimed at advancing education, it is unique in its broad, grassroots and holistic approach - underscoring the strong connections between commerce and education, growth and equity. Studies show that a more educated workforce, with training and credentials beyond high school, is a critical indicator of a state's economic health and long-term viability - leading to higher wages, greater capital and healthy, vibrant communities. If 60 percent of Arizonans aged 25-64 obtain a college degree or professional certificate, we could see an additional $3.5 billion added to our state's economy.
With a growing enrollment, Arizona's public university system already is intensely focused on increasing postsecondary success for our state in order to meet the workforce demands of the future. While Achieve60AZ is critical to the mission of all three of our public universities, the initiative is far bigger in scope than our university enterprise, and ultimately transcends any single organization, institution or system. This initiative is locally focused and locally powered - the sum of all of our contributions, solutions and ideas for advancing Arizona and the people who live here through a college- and career-ready culture.
Over the last year, I have been overwhelmed and inspired by the momentum and strength of the Achieve60AZ collaboration. I am sincerely appreciative that Governor Ducey, a champion for opportunity, is lending his support, which will serve to strengthen the impact of this initiative statewide as Achieve60 moves forward.
The steadfast support this initiative has received and the incredible progress it has made in a relatively short time - to develop strategies that address attainment and work toward our goal of 60 percent - is powerful testimony that speaks to the growing support for student success in Arizona. I am equally honored to be part of this community alliance of key leaders in business, policy, education and philanthropy, from both public and private sectors, working to close the attainment gap on local, state and national levels.
Today, the goal we set, as a united force in Arizona, is a pledge of support to provide greater opportunities for the people who live, learn and work here - so that, together, we can achieve more.
Learn more about Achieve60AZ.