Tucson Metro Chamber Releases New Workforce Development Strategies

After months of data collection, deliberations and discussions managed by our public/private steering committee, the Tucson Metro Chamber shares five recommendations designed to enhance and improve our region’s workforce development and talent attraction efforts.

Titled Professional Pursuits, these recommendations and strategies speak to the need for our businesses, educational institutions, and community leaders to implement and expand programs designed to more acutely match skills with industry demand. As part of the project, the impact of COVID-19 was included within the study.

The five strategies focus on areas of high-demand fields required across sectors, specifically IT; building talent pipelines directly to local employers; establishing more public/private sector industry partnerships. 

The five strategies are:

Strategy 1: Employers, educators and business organizations in the Greater Tucson Region should consistently support innovative education/industry partnerships, including a system of high-quality Career and Technical Education aligned to the needs of the business community. The skills developed at universities, community colleges and many training providers should match the skills needed by our companies.  

Strategy 2: A collaborative of regional employers and stakeholders should fund and launch the Tucson Move IT Up initiative. IT and cybersecurity skills are needed at our hospitals just as much as they are needed in aerospace and defense stressing the need for our region to make an accelerated push toward developing these important skills.

Strategy 3: The Tucson Metro Chamber, in conjunction with the City of Tucson and Pima County, should establish the Tucson Employer Development program, an education and outreach program that provides resources, training and certification to the region’s employers. We plan to award those companies who have implemented internship, tuition reimbursement and other programs that provide work-based learning opportunities. 

Strategy 4: The Greater Tucson Region should make efforts to effectively highlight the career opportunities in the region to attract high-level talent in critical industries. Our partnerships with Tucson Young Professionals, Sun Corridor Inc., Visit Tucson and StartUp Tucson will be further developed to create and manage talent attraction campaigns.

Strategy 5: The Greater Tucson Career Literacy Initiative should organize business and community leaders to bring information, connections and exposure related to high-quality careers into Pima 

County’s classrooms. The Center for the Future of Arizona has created career pathways  in  a number of industries and students will benefit greatly by having a better understanding of what the pathway looks like for their desired career

“Tucson has many assets creating a very positive quality of life;  however to further improve that quality of life, we must be purposeful in maintaining a low cost of living while growing industry,” said Amber Smith, Chamber president and CEO. “If we don’t continually examine the changes in the marketplace and make the important connections between industry and education, our community will be left behind. The Tucson Metro Chamber is proud to present and help implement these recommendations for the betterment of our region.”

“Sundt has always succeeded based on the people we hire to design, engineer and construct our buildings and campuses, said Ian McDowell, chair of the Chamber’s Board of Directors and VP of Sundt.  

“The Chamber’s recommendations to provide better defined pathways and  that result in a more highly trained workforce will not only help Sundt, but many other companies in the region grow and thive in the future. “ 

“The Tucson Metro Chamber serves as a leader, connector and convener for businesses of all sizes in our region,” said Ian Roark, VP of Workplace Development and Strategic Partnerships for Pima Community College. “The Workforce Development Blueprint captures this role with purpose and initiatives in which we can all engage. Pima Community College proudly supports this blueprint and the Tucson Metro Chamber, and we stand ready to move these recommendations forward for the betterment of our businesses and the workers they employ.” 

The Chamber appreciates the financial contributions made by our Blueprint sponsors, most notably Tucson Medical Center, Pima Association of Governments, United Way, City of Tucson and Pima County. The Chamber will create a Professional Pathways steering committee made up of private, public, education and non-profit sector leaders to create metrics for each of the five strategies. 

This group will provide a bi-annual report to the community indicating progress made in each of the five areas. The data collection and analysis were provided by Trevor Stokes from the Partnership for Workforce Innovation who helped author Professional Pursuits and was the lead consultant on this project. PWI provides labor market analysis, curriculum development and strategic planning services that align education and workforce development strategies with the realities of local and regional economic trends.

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