What happens when you make a unified effort to successfully connect workforce ecosystems not only to pave the way for meaningful employment, but also to focus on addressing foundational needs like stable housing and food security? You reduce poverty.

Pipeline AZ is transforming this vision into reality in Arizona. Taking a comprehensive approach to tackle the challenges of limited access and awareness of career readiness resources scattered across different departments, agencies, and systems, Pipeline AZ unites diverse groups of individuals through collaborative processes and innovative technology. The initiative embodies a collective and unwavering commitment to dismantling silos within career seeking, creating a more interconnected and accessible career development system for the benefit of all statewide.

In this visionary initiative, learners can seamlessly connect with credentialing programs and training opportunities through career exploration and transition smoothly into localized programs aligning with their career interests. Employers and industries play an active role in marketing themselves and high-demand careers, attracting fresh talent and providing a clear pathway to acquiring essential skills, including internships, apprenticeships, and job opportunities. This collaboration involves numerous colleges across Arizona, and ongoing efforts are directed toward planning the next demonstration in this interconnected ecosystem, poised to address broader societal barriers learners face.

Picture a single parent, uncertain about joining a college certificate program due to financial constraints. This individual connects with their local community college through career exploration, where their career goals come to life through a training program. The college not only facilitates their entry into the program, but also provides direct access to United Way and the Community Food Bank, offering stable housing and food security they did not know existed. The layers of support offered by expanding awareness of local wraparound services allow this parent to transition from a minimum-wage worker to an enrolled student, anticipating a wage increase from $12 per hour to $18 per hour upon completion. This is a practical example of how education and support can positively impact someone’s journey to a better future.

This example will become a reality in the next phase of Arizona’s connected workforce ecosystem. Community colleges will have the ability to fully leverage the potential of this approach, increasing collaboration among various organizations, nonprofits, and government programs. This seamless partnership will continue to deliver services to individuals, expanding efforts to address underlying issues through existing wraparound service providers within proximity to the student. The solution is designed for community colleges to efficiently tackle and eliminate the barriers each learner faces, offering them an optimal chance for success.

The intersection of community colleges, nonprofits, and innovative solutions like Pipeline AZ improves education and career outcomes and drives positive societal change. Arizona’s pioneering work serves as a model for the U.S. as a whole, showcasing the value of collaboration, innovation, and compassion. Community colleges can transform into vital support hubs, connecting students to career pathways as well as comprehensive wraparound resources. Should every state emulate Arizona and successfully integrate their workforce ecosystems, nearly 1,000 community colleges would be empowered to connect their students to almost two million nonprofit organizations offering services that help to drive student success.

If your state is eager to embark on this uplifting journey, Futures Inc., in partnership with the League, invites you to contact us at futuresinc.com to discuss how we can collaborate to create a workforce ecosystem that celebrates success, fosters collaborative solutions, and plays a pivotal role in reducing poverty.

 

Amber Smith, M.P.A.

CEO
Pipeline AZ

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