Jobs & Econ Team Plays Key Role in Workforce Report

March 9, 2021
Jobs & Economy Team

With an eye toward collaboration and shared responsibility, a group of education and business leaders recently came together to discuss how they can improve the education and training opportunities for students across the state to strengthen the state’s current and future workforce.

Among their top considerations were inspiration, equity and freedom to choose a career path; creating coordinated, statewide career development partnerships; and skills growth provided through work-based learning and mentorship opportunities.

Read the just-released report here.

A group of Valley Leadership alumni and members of the Impact Maker Jobs and Economy Team were among the Education Leadership Group to provide their expertise, insight and facilitation skills. The result is a roadmap to guide policy leaders, educators and the business community to build the talent pipeline that Arizona’s fast-growing economy needs.

Among them were Jobs and Economy Team Chair Mary Foote, Jobs and Economy Workforce Development Lead Melanie Burm, Jobs and Economy Strategic Partner Katherine Pappas and Jobs and Economy Team Members Salvador Avila Bretts, Mikie Lara, Troy Pottgen and Carolyn Vasos.

“As a career development and exploration tool designed for the Arizona community, connecting and amplifying the work of partners is core to our mission.”

Katherine Pappas, director of workforce strategy for Pipeline AZ.

Members of the group shared their experience and advice to others taking on collaborative community work.

Coming together breaks down the silos that lead to change.

“The ELG (Education Leadership Group) assembled a diverse cross-section of representatives from both industry and education for facilitated discussions that resulted in tangible and viable recommendations that should lead our community forward in a dramatically different manner,” said Burm, who serves as director of external affairs, workforce development and community partnerships for Scottsdale Community Colleges. “By simply forging connections between some of these people and organizations, the ecosystem will inevitably shift.  There is now a shared goal to achieve change – to improve the ‘system’ for today’s students, tomorrow’s workforce – and with intentional plans in place to make it happen.”

Having diverse voices in the room creates better solutions.

“While many of us are surrounded by brilliant minds in our employment, something special happens when you take people from different offices, put them together and let them brainstorm off each other,” said Bretts, vice president of MidFirst Private Wealth Management. “We have the talent to build feeder pipelines for the tomorrow’s jobs that will future-proof our economy, we just have to team up and deliver.” 

Say “Yes” when it comes to your community.

“You’re always going to be very busy, so don’t let that hold you back,” said Vasos, senior strategy advisor of technology and business for Camelback Consultants & Black Barons Group. “That feeling you get when you’ve given back pays lasting dividends you may never see, but your community will feel for years to come.”