Arizona industry leaders launch Career Readiness Program

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A group of Arizona educators, business leaders, and community leaders have formed the Arizona Coalition for Career Readiness to make sure career planning tools are in classrooms and community colleges.

Founding coalition members include Arizona Business and Education Coalition, Junior Achievement of Arizona, Center for the Future of Arizona, Valley of the Sun United Way and Pipeline AZ.

Jim Zaharis, a founding member of the coalition, and Katherine Adams, the Senior Vice President of Pipeline AZ, joined Arizona Horizon to explain why these types of programs are so important.

“The problem is many young people and their families don’t know early enough the possibilities,” Zaharis said. “They know the visible careers, but they don’t know all the possibilities. We’re helping people understand that and have a plan while they’re in high school on to community college.”

The coalition serves high school and community college students providing them with career readiness skills.

“In the classroom, they’re not always getting relevant information, so by bringing this coalition together, we are programmatically able to deliver through technology what relevant career pathways are looking like,” Adams said.

Only 48% of Arizona students have attained some type of degree or certificate, yet 68% of Arizona jobs require some type of postsecondary education.

“The goal in Arizona is to have 60% of our people graduate with a degree, an associate degree or an industrial certificate,” Zaharis said.

Governor Katie Hobbs has declared September, “Arizona Career Awareness Month,” acknowledging the need for better career development opportunities in Arizona classrooms.

“We’re getting really positive feedback because it is something that’s difficult sometimes for teachers to have programmatic resources, so having a coordinated group ready to deliver any kind of career development tools is really helpful for them,” Adams said.

Jim Zaharis, a founding member of the coalition; Katherine Adams, Senior Vice President of Pipeline AZ

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