Phoenix Chamber advocates career, technical education for robust economy

The Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce said career and technical education (CTE) has a direct connection to labor-market needs and recently praised Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s administration for settling an inflation-funding lawsuit in favor of the state's schoolchildren.

The chamber said strong schools and an educated workforce are among its priorities.

The chamber also said more work lies ahead and pinpointed the need to restore funding for joint technical education districts (JTEDs), which could cease to provide crucial training for good-paying, highly skilled and high-demand careers in the face of looming budget cuts.

If CTE funding is slashed, the supply of career-ready workers will suffer, with possible consequences that include companies looking outside the state for talent - or even leaving Arizona to grow elsewhere. 

"We can do something about priming this critical pipeline,” the chamber said. “And now that Arizona is on stronger fiscal footing, we hope the governor and legislature continue on this pro-education path by restoring the CTE funding next legislative session.” 

The chamber, through its “Phoenix Forward” economic-development initiative, has met with over 140 Phoenix-area companies to identify business owners’ needs and connect them with appropriate resources. The chamber established Phoenix Forward to foster a pro-business environment favoring the creation of quality jobs, robust business retention and expansion efforts and increased capital investment in the region.

Chamber leaders recently toured the new southwest campus of Western Maricopa Education Center in Glendale (West-MEC), in which 46 high schools participate, The campus provides “incredible resources” to students of energy and construction technology.

Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce Vice President of Public Affairs Mike Huckins and Vice President of Economic Development Jennifer Mellor said that throughout this process, they heard loud and clear that identifying a qualified workforce is not only a challenge for existing businesses, but it is the No. 1 factor for companies looking to relocate to Arizona." 

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