LinkedIn: In Arizona, We’re Determined to Return Stronger with Skills for the Future

By Sandra Watson, President and CEO, Arizona Commerce Authority


PHOENIX, AZ (September 27, 2021) In times of uncertainty and change, Arizonans have shown incredible resilience. That’s one reason our state was a national leader in job creation and personal income growth before the pandemic — and still is today. Arizona is experiencing the third-fastest jobs recovery in the nation, with a workforce that reached pre-pandemic levels in March and continues to grow.


A determined focus on establishing Arizona as a welcoming place for business and workers has made, and will keep, our state a top destination for commerce. And we’re also devoted to ensuring that Arizona’s economic recovery flows to all corners of our state, from urban to rural, health care to hospitality, and across the vast range of education and experience levels of our state’s workers.


Through the pandemic, we’ve not only provided support for displaced workers, but also laid the groundwork for Arizonans to enhance existing job skills, learn new ones and advance their careers. This is evidenced through our Return Stronger Upskilling effort, a collaborative partnership among the Arizona Commerce Authority, Office of Economic Opportunity, Arizona Department of Economic Security, Arizona Department of Education and ARIZONA@WORK, a public and private partnership with 12 local workforce areas and 47 job centers.


This spring, Arizona also joined a diverse cohort of 10 states as part of the Workforce Innovation Network — a nonpartisan learning and action collaborative led by the bipartisan National Governors Association (NGA) and supported by the Cognizant Foundation. Our state is working alongside Alabama, Colorado, Hawai‘i, Illinois, Maine, Missouri, New Mexico, Nevada and Washington to incubate ideas, share knowledge, and scale innovations to better connect job seekers to work, education, training and essential supports many will need to succeed.


Working with NGA and our fellow states, Arizona is building on our longstanding commitment to help prepare workers and our young people for tomorrow’s jobs. Arizona is improving access to workforce services through our one-stop delivery system, with a focus on building digital literacy skills in unemployed and underemployed workers. We also are promoting dual-credit opportunities between high school and postsecondary partners and working with employers to expand apprenticeship programs in urban and rural parts of our state.


We know that promoting digital skills and connectivity is essential these days. That is why we are also launching new technology solutions to develop skills training in fields that will provide hundreds of thousands of job opportunities in the years ahead. This includes jobs in cybersecurity, information technology and artificial intelligence, as well as in industries that are already growing in Arizona, such as semiconductor and electric vehicle manufacturing.


In March, Intel announced 3,000 new jobs along with two new semiconductor plants in Chandler, marking the largest private sector investment in state history at $20 billion. In addition, last year, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) announced the addition of 1,600 jobs and construction of a new $12 billion semiconductor fabrication facility in Phoenix.


As we celebrate the continued expansion of Arizona’s high-tech economy, we’re taking concrete steps to prepare workers for these advanced fields.


In the spring, we were proud to join local and industry partners for the launch of Drive48, a hands-on workforce training facility located at Central Arizona College. The state-of-the-art facility, which gives students practice using high-tech assembly robots, is training hundreds of workers for the region’s booming electric vehicle manufacturing industry, where leaders such as Lucid and Nicola have factories.


In recognition of Arizona’s leadership to build a robust talent pipeline, this week, the NGA will host its 2021 Fall Workforce Symposium in Phoenix. At the weeklong symposium, which will be attended by workforce leaders from across the country, representatives from industry, academia and economic development will share some of the innovative strategies that continue to put Arizona at the top of the class for workforce readiness.


As more Americans get vaccinated, we know that COVID-19 won’t be here forever. But Arizona’s high-tech transformation is just getting started. At the ACA, we’re committed to ensuring that Arizona remains a place where people of all skill levels can live, work and thrive.


Read the full article on LinkedIn here.


Media contact


Alyssa Tufts, Arizona Commerce Authority, [email protected]


About the Arizona Commerce Authority

The Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) is the state's leading economic development organization with a streamlined mission to grow and strengthen Arizona's economy. The ACA uses a three-pronged approach to advance the overall economy: attract, expand, create - attract out-of-state companies to establish operations in Arizona; work with existing companies to expand their business in Arizona and beyond; and help entrepreneurs create new Arizona businesses in targeted industries. For more information, please visit and follow the ACA on Twitter @azcommerce.