May 2023 President’s Message

Steven G. Zylstra

As a member-supported organization, it might be easy to believe the Arizona Technology Council exists only to support businesses that are up and running. But we believe a key part of our mission is to help develop the workforce of tomorrow.

A prime example is our support of Arizona State University’s AZNext initiative, a combination of the university’s first U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) $2 million grant focused on developing 1,600 apprentices to fill information technology (IT), cyber and data roles and its second $8 million DOL grant to establish the Arizona Workforce Training Accelerator Partnership for Next Generation Jobs (AZNext). 

The workforce development effort will enhance regional competitiveness, helping to address workforce shortages and train workers for high-paying, high-demand jobs in advanced manufacturing, cybersecurity and IT. 

Led by ASU’s W. P. Carey School of Business, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering and New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, and community partners that include Pipeline AZ, Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) and Arizona@Work, the second grant program is designed to train at least 2,000 participants, with a goal of achieving industry-recognized credentials and permanent job placement over the next four years. 

The Council has continued to provide leadership support through our Workforce Development and Education Committee, as well as by soliciting participation of Council members for advisory roles and as implementation partners in the talent development and acquisition programs that are part of AZNext. 

One of AZNext’s many goals is to build a workforce development model that not only works in Arizona but can be applied in other states — eventually upskilling America’s workforce. Critical to this effort is ASU’s partnerships with agencies like ACA, which leads economic development and workforce programs across the state.

Arizona already has been prioritizing jobs in advanced manufacturing, cybersecurity and IT. The state ranks second in the U.S. when it comes to creating jobs in those emerging sectors and has filled more than 350,000 related positions since 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

As part of its focus on diversity, equity and inclusion, the Council also continues its extensive leadership and support both in Arizona and nationally of the implementation, planning and development of ASU’s grant totaling $10 million from the National Science Foundation. 

ASU’s vision for the Accelerate Latinx Representation in STEM Education (ALRISE) Alliance is to drastically improve Latinx student retention and completion in STEM at two- and four-year Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) and emerging HSIs (eHSIs) through culturally sensitive capacity building with education and industry partners in experiential learning. 

In addition to supporting the grant’s proposed work in Arizona, the Council facilitated connections to other technology associations across the U.S. for participation in this grant and plays an ongoing leadership role on the grant project.

As you can tell, workforce development in Arizona is a team effort and the Council is proud to play a part.

Speak Your Mind

In Business Dailies

Sign up for a complimentary year of In Business Dailies with a bonus Digital Subscription of In Business Magazine delivered to your inbox each month!

  • Get the day’s Top Stories
  • Relevant In-depth Articles
  • Daily Offers
  • Coming Events