AWC presidents partner with Education Forward Arizona to amplify united call to action
Yuma — Arizona is currently facing a severe shortage of college-educated adults. Just under half of Arizonans between the ages of 25 and 64 have earned a bachelor’s or associate degree or a professional credential or certiﬁcate. That’s well below the statewide goal of ensuring that at least 60 percent of Arizona’s adults have a postsecondary degree or credential by 2030.
As part of a united call to action, Arizona Western College President Dr. Daniel Corr joined Education Forward Arizona and 14 university and college presidents in signing an open letter explaining why college is essential, not only for graduates, but for the future of Arizona’s communities, workforce, and economy.
The letter, titled, “Yes, college is still a worthwhile investment,” ran in the Arizona Republic on Sunday, June 4, to further amplify the need for more Arizonans with a college degree or professional certificate. The message also highlighted the important work that postsecondary institutions are participating in statewide at the forefront of this impactful education movement.
This spring, Arizona’s three public universities, community colleges, tribal colleges, and private colleges and universities awarded more than 80,000 two- and four-year college degrees and thousands of professional certiﬁcates. AWC contributed to this effort by issuing over 2,000 degrees and occupational certificates at its spring commencement.
As part of the Everything to Gain campaign, Arizona’s college and university presidents are advocating to add more than 500,000 degrees and certificates by the end of the decade to reach Arizona’s statewide attainment goal to support a thriving economy. Achieving that milestone requires investment and improvements throughout the PreK-20 education system to increase the college-going pipeline so that Arizona adults can continue their education and training after high school.
“At Arizona Western College, we are committed to increasing access to education and workforce training in the communities we serve. Our efforts in this area recently led to the launch of our new Entrepreneurial College, creating improved pathways for students and a more reliable pipeline of highly skilled talent to meet the region’s rapidly evolving employment needs,” said Dr. Corr.
“We are thrilled to work alongside postsecondary institutions across the state as part of the Everything to Gain initiative for a more vibrant future for Arizonans. This ambitious, but achievable goal, aligns with our own BHAG of doubling bachelor attainment rates by 2035.”
Recent research from Helios Education Foundation and Education Forward Arizona shows that Arizonans who pursue education after high school experience higher lifetime earnings, better health, and more economic opportunities. Increasing higher education enrollment by just 20 percent per cohort could lead to more than $5 billion in economic gains for Arizona each year.