Goodwill Breaks Ground on First-of-Its-Kind Adult High School in Phoenix

Governor Doug Ducey this morning welcomed Goodwill’s first Excel Center in Arizona at a groundbreaking ceremony.

“Arizonans who are past the eligible age to attend high school and never got a diploma should have all the same opportunities to pursue the career of their choosing,” said Governor Ducey at the groundbreaking. “This brick-and-mortar, tuition-free academy designed to help adult learners get their high school diploma will only accelerate Arizona’s skilled workforce. Thank you to Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona and the entire team at Goodwill Arizona for their leadership in giving more Arizonans new educational opportunities.”

Approximately 700,000 adults in Arizona have less than a high school diploma or its equivalent. The new Excel Center will help more Arizonans find work in high-skilled, high-wage jobs that are emerging across the state.

“The Excel Center is a proven model that increases earning potential for those without a high school diploma by empowering them to pursue an education, work toward industry certifications and achieve better employment opportunities,” said Tim O’Neal, Chief Executive Officer, Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona. “Thank you to Governor Ducey for his partnership in establishing this adult high school and ensuring it remains tuition-free for our adult learners so they can focus on a better future.”

Excel Centers have been successful in five other states in connecting graduates with jobs – 70 percent of graduates of these centers have found employment. Furthermore, 97 percent of students have graduated with workforce credentials, certifications or college credits.

A study estimates that Excel Center students in Arizona will see an average annual wage increase of more than $17,000 — or more than $8 an hour.

Governor Ducey dedicated $12 million in 2021 for the Excel Center to launch. This is the latest example of the Governor bringing attention to the critical need for workforce training pathways that allow individuals to obtain credentials and help meet the demands of Arizona’s evolving economy.

In addition to O’Neal, Governor Ducey was joined at the groundbreaking by Katrina Thurman, Senior Vice President of Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona and Jimmy Lindblom of Willmeng Construction.

Applications for Excel Center teachers are now open.

Workforce development and education opportunities like the Goodwill Excel Centers are critical for Arizona’s economy. As cutting-edge businesses and industry leaders move to Arizona in droves, a highly-skilled workforce is essential.

Last week, Nestlé announced it is investing $675 million to build a new factory in Glendale, creating over 350 jobs.

Arizona’s unemployment rate last week reached 3.7 percent — the lowest since August 2007.

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