ASU’S AZNext: Workforce training accelerator
The ASU AZNext Program is a partnership designed to team ASU with industry and community partners to develop the next-generation workforce in Advance Manufacturing and Information Systems.
Rob Buelow, the Program Director for AZNext, joins Arizona Horizon to explain the program more.
AZNext will specifically focus on programs leading to high-skilled, high-wage jobs in the field, including cybersecurity and artificial intelligence. AZNext is a grant-funded Department of Labor program, so the programs are provided at no cost to participants.
The goal is to create a bold, innovative, and sustaining workforce development ecosystem addressing the need for more skilled workers in IT, cybersecurity, and advanced manufacturing roles.
The program attempts to increase opportunities for underrepresented communities and improve the diversity of the high-tech workforce in Arizona.
“The way that we really do that is we work with over 60 industry partners and we basically go to them and say ‘What sort of skills are you looking for in your workforce? What do you currently need?” Buelow said.
AZNext takes the resources they have at ASU to put together training courses to supply needed skills for those companies. The program works with various community organizations to recruit people to enroll in the training programs. Upon completion of the training programs, AZNext works to find individuals a well-paying job in a rapidly growing high-tech field.
AZNext has programs that range anywhere from a two-day boot camp to a two-year apprenticeship.
“One that I’m particularly proud of is our ‘Business Readiness for Veterans’ which is a program that was designed by veterans, specifically for veterans, and the idea is to take the training that they’ve learned while they’re in the service and translate that into high-tech business skills,” Buelow said.
AZNext received its first grant in 2020 and plans to run through 2025.