Achiev60AZ

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Achieve60AZ is a campaign supported by more than 60 organizations in Arizona working to ensure Arizona remains competitive through the power of education. The goal of Achieve60AZ is to increase attainment of post-secondary credentials to 60% of adults by 2030. We’ll hear more from the organization’s new project manager, Christine Thompson and Maria Harper-Marinick, Chancellor of the Maricopa Community College District.

TED SIMONS: ACHIEVE-60-AZ IS A CAMPAIGN SUPPORTED BY MORE THAN 60 ARIZONA ORGANIZATIONS WORKING TO ENSURE THE STATE REMAINS COMPETITIVE THROUGH EDUCATION. HERE WITH MORE IS THE GROUP'S NEW PROJECT MANAGER, CHRISTINE THOMPSON, AND MARIA HARPER MARINICK CHANCELLOR OF THE MARICOPA COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT. GIVE US A BETTER DEFINITION OF ACHIEVE 60 AZ?

CHRISTINE THOMPSON: IT'S A GROUP OF PHILANTHROPIC NONPROFIT LEADERS IN EDUCATION SPACE INTERESTED IN THE GOAL OF ARIZONANS GETTING TO 60% BY 2030. THAT MEANS COLLEGE DEGREES, ASSOCIATE DEGREES AND BACHELOR DEGREES, BUT ALSO HIGH-VALUE CREDENTIALS TO BE USED IN OTHER SETTINGS AS WELL.

TED SIMONS: 60% BY 2030. THAT MEANS WE ARE NOT THERE YET. WHY NOT?

MARIA HARPER-MARINICK: WE ARE CLOSER TO 42%. I THINK WE NEED TO PROMOTE THE VALUE OF A COLLEGE DEGREE FOR EMPLOYMENT BETTER THAN HAS BEEN DONE IN THE PAST. WE NEED TO DO BETTER THAN IS HAPPENING IN THE HIGH SCHOOLS AND COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES AND WE NEED TO EDUCATE OUR PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND THAT HAVING A COLLEGE CREDENTIAL DOES MATTER.

TED SIMONS: BUSINESS GROUPS, WHAT CAN THEY DO?

MARIA HARPER-MARINICK: THEY ARE PART OF THE CONVERSATION NOW BECAUSE THEY ARE THE ENTITIES LOOKING FOR TALENT TO EMPLOYEE. THEY ARE INTERESTED IN SEEING THAT THERE ARE MORE PEOPLE IN ARIZONA READY TO GET THE JOBS AVAILABLE IN OUR STATE. THAT HASN'T BEEN THE CASE. WE ALL HEAR THAT. THAT'S PART OF THE INTEREST MAKING SURE THAT WE, THOSE OF US IN EDUCATION UNDERSTAND WHAT KIND OF SKILLS FOR PEOPLE THAT DELIVER THE JOBS.

TED SIMONS: HAS THAT BEEN A DISCONNECT IN THE PAST BETWEEN BUSINESS AND PHILANTHROPIC?

KRISTINE THOMPSON: PEOPLE OFTEN WORK IN SILOS. BRINGING PEOPLE TOGETHER IN THIS WAY TO INCREASE THE CONVERSATION ABOUT WHAT'S NEEDED IS REALLY IMPORTANT BECAUSE IT'S DEGREES OFFERED AT THE CHANCELLOR'S INSTITUTIONS. IT'S DEGREES OFFERED AT OUR UNIVERSITIES. IT'S ALSO THE CREDENTIALS THAT ARE IMPORTANT IN TECHNICAL PROGRAMS. ALSO, WE NEED TO THINK ABOUT THE WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS BRINGING BUSINESSES TO THE STATE. EVERY TIME A NEW BUSINESS MOVES HERE, THEY MIGHT BRING EDUCATED PEOPLE WITH THEM, THAT WILL ALSO INCREASE THE ATTAINMENT OF ARIZONANS. IF SOMEONE MOVES HERE WITH A DEGREE T COUNTS THE SAME AS SOMEONE THAT GRADUATES FROM THE ARIZONAN SYSTEM.

TED SIMONS: MAKING IT EASIER TO FINISH COLLEGE DEGREES. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

MARIA HARPER-MARINICK: IT MEANS A VARIETY OF THINGS. IT MEANS THE COLLEGES NEED TO HAVE GOOD ALIGNMENT WITH THE NEEDS OF INDUSTRY. IT MEANS THAT FOR THOSE INDIVIDUALS THAT NEED TO COMPLETE A BACHELOR DEGREE, THAT THE COMMUNITY COLLEGES ARE WORKING WITH THE UNIVERSITIES TO MAKE SURE THE TRANSITION FROM ONE SYSTEM TO THE NEXT CAN HAPPEN IN A TIMELY MANNER WITHOUT BARRIERS SO MORE COMMUNITY COLLEGE CREDITS COUNT. WE HAVE DONE GOOD WORK IN THE STATE OF ARIZONA. WE HAVE NATIONAL MODELS OTHER STATES WOULD LIKE TO EMULATE.

TED SIMONS: THE IDEA OF INCREASING POST ACCESS, THAT HAS TO BE HUGE FOR YOU GUYS.

MARIA HARPER-MARINICK: IT IS. WE ARE ACCESS COLLEGES. WE KNOW THAT FOR MANY STUDENTS IN OUR STATE THAT COMMUNITY COLLEGES ARE THE BEST CHOICE. IT'S ABOUT WHAT IT MEANS TO GO TO COLLEGE, EDUCATING STUDENTS AND FAMILIES ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF UNDERSTANDING WHEN YOU ACCESS FINANCIAL SUPPORT, WHAT'S THE LINGO OF COLLEGE, HOW DO YOU ENROLL? WE DO MANY THINGS INCLUDING TOMORROW WE HAVE ENROLLMENT EXPRESS. 9:00 TO 4:00, ONE DAY, FEW HOURS, WE'LL GET THEM ENROLLED IN THE COLLEGES IN AN EASY WAY. THAT'S IMPORTANT FOR THEM. THEY NEED TO START. THEY NEED TO STAY. THEY NEED TO SEE A PATHWAY TO EMPLOYMENT. THEY NEED TO UNDERSTAND WHAT IT TAKES TO GET THERE.

TED SIMONS: THERE ARE CRITICS OUT THERE THAT SAY, THIS IS FINE AND DANDY. COLLEGE ISN'T FOR EVERYONE. SOME FOLKS MAY BE ON THIS TRAIL WHERE THEY SHOULDN'T BE. HOW DO YOU RESPOND TO THAT?

KRISTINE THOMPSON: THIS EFFORT ISN'T JUST COLLEGE. WE HAVE FOCUSED ON COLLEGE AND CAREER READINESS BOTH. THERE ARE MANY CAREER PATHS THAT PEOPLE MIGHT REQUIRE A CREDENTIAL THEY CAN RECEIVE AT A TECHNICAL COLLEGE OR COMMUNITY COLLEGE. IT'S NOT NECESSARILY AN ASSOCIATE'S DEGREE. THIS EFFORT IS MORE THAN THAT. IT'S MORE THAN OBTAINING A COLLEGE CREDENTIAL. THAT'S PART OF THE STRENGTH OF THIS. WE ARE NOT JUST TALKING ABOUT A COMMUNITY COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY, BUT TECHNICAL SKILLS AS WELL.

TED SIMONS: ACHIEVE 60, IT HAS GOALS, PLANS, IT SAYS LET'S DO THIS. WHY HASN'T THIS BEEN DONE IN THE PAST?

KRISTINE THOMPSON: WE WERE TALKING ABOUT THIS A FEW WEEKS AGO. THIS IS THE CULMINATION OF WORK GOING ON FOR SOME TIME NOW. IN THE 20 YEARS I HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN EDUCATION POLICY THERE HAVE BEEN STEPS TOWARD THIS, P20 COUNCIL TO GETTING AHEAD, THE WORK THAT UNIVERSITIES AND COMMUNITY COLLEGES HAVE DONE, THE WORK CHANCELLOR'S INSTITUTION IS DOING WITH REVERSE TRANSFERS, THOSE THAT TRANSFERRED, DIDN'T FINISH, NOW THEY CAN GET AN ASSOCIATE DEGREE WITH THE CREDITS THEY RECEIVED AT THE UNIVERSITY. THIS IS THE FIRST TIME EVERYONE HAS COME TOGETHER ON A NORTH STAR TO DEVELOP OUR CAPITAL AND REALLY RISE THE TIDE OF ALL OF THE BOATS AND HELP OUR ECONOMY.

TED SIMONS: WE'LL STOP IT RIGHT THERE. GOOD CONVERSATION. GOOD TO HAVE YOU BOTH HERE.

MARIA HARPER-MARINICK: THANKS FOR HAVING US.

TED SIMONS: THURSDAY ON ARIZONA HORIZON: THE MONSOON OFFICIALLY STARTS TOMORROW, WITH BIG-TIME HEAT A PRELUDE TO THE BIG-TIME STORMS, AND WE'LL SEE HOW ARIZONA BEES ARE HEADED TO CALIFORNIA TO HELP OUT WITH CROPS. THAT'S IT FOR NOW. I'M TED SIMONS. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US. YOU HAVE A GREAT EVENING.

Christine Thompson: Project Manager, Achieve60AZ, achieve60az.com

Maria Harper-Marinick: Chancellor, Maricopa Community College District

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