The goal of Pathways to Prosperity is to ensure that many more young people complete high school and earn a postsecondary credential with labor market value in their community. Pathways to Prosperity programs offer a strong academic foundation and solid core of technical skills that yield technical degrees or industry-specific certificates and credentials in areas of high demand. It launches young people into initial careers while leaving open the opportunity of further education.
Center for the Future of Arizona is leading the Pathways to Prosperity effort in Arizona, working with local educators and employers to build a system of grades 9-14 pathways that combine high school and community college. The pathways are flexible to take into account the fact that the path for youth after high school is often not straight. Young people can enter and exit postsecondary education or switch career interests while accumulating college credit and gaining real traction toward career goals.
Arizona has consistently ranked as one of the fastest growing states in the nation in the last two decades. This growth in population provides a significant opportunity for Arizona to develop a strong workforce that can support economic development and prosperity for the citizens of the state. Realizing this opportunity will require a focus on student outcomes, educational attainment, and connecting education and industry in effective ways.
An estimated 68% of all jobs in Arizona will require postsecondary education by 2020.
35% of young adults in Arizona ages 25-34 hold a two- or four-year degree, or higher.
50.5% of Arizona’s public high school graduates enroll in any postsecondary institution immediately after graduation
Arizona joined the Pathways to Prosperity Network in June 2014, a multi-state initiative led by Jobs for the Future and Harvard Graduate School of Education. Shortly thereafter, CFA was selected by the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development as Arizona’s primary partner.
The network emerged as a result of a report published by the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Pathways to Prosperity: Meeting the Challenge of Preparing Young Americans for the 21st Century, indicating that “…roughly half of all young Americans arrive in their mid-twenties without the skills or labor market credentials essential for success in today’s increasingly demanding economy.”
The report goes on to say that one reason is the nation’s long-standing reliance on the four-year college degree to help students make the transition from high school to working life. Given the fact that only 40.4% of the nation’s population over ages 25-64 holds at least an associate degree or higher -- 36.8% in Arizona – the number of people without a strong transition from high school to mid- to high wage work is unacceptable in a modern economy.
High schools, higher education, and business and industry work collaboratively to create career pathways resulting in many more young people earning credentials and degrees with labor market value in high-demand, high-growth industry sectors.
In Arizona, CFA will initially develop pathways in the Phoenix and Tucson labor market regions in four industry sectors as starting points: advanced manufacturing (Tucson), bioscience/diagnostics (Tucson), energy (Phoenix), and information technologies (Phoenix). These sectors are high-demand and/or high-growth sectors of our economy, and provide great opportunity for young people seeking entry-level jobs with a two-year degree or more.
Importantly for students, Pathways to Prosperity will bring together early career literacy, the integration of high school and postsecondary education, and work-based learning opportunities in order to create seamless pathways to future careers with strong earning potential in high-demand industry sectors. The pathways will enable students to explore the world of work and connect to the future career of their choice by providing the skills, experiences, and credentials necessary in today’s economy.
If you are interested in Pathways to Prosperity please contact:
Director of College and Career Pathways