Upon adopting the Progress Meter and the state’s attainment goal, community leaders in Pinal County banded together to establish Achieve Pinal, a formal committee of the Pinal Alliance for Economic Growth. The group is focused on improving the Pinal County workforce by increasing the level of educational attainment of residents and preparing workers for the 30,000 expected jobs in the region within the next five to ten years. The committee is working to connect local governments, school districts and the business community in Pinal County to work together to improve the county-wide workforce.
Mirroring the statewide initiative, Achieve60AZ, a cross-section of community leaders representing business, education, government and the non-profit community make up the committee. The volunteer group is working to develop a county-wide workforce development strategy.
One of the goals of the committee is to work with all Pinal County superintendents to begin career exploration with seventh-grade students. As seventh graders begin to think about careers they will be better prepared for selecting high school and college courses. Reaching students as early as seventh grade helps them be cognizant of what they want to do in the future and how the decisions they make in high school will impact those career goals. Currently, the Casa Grande Middle School offers week-long career camps in the summer to help students get a feel for what to expect of careers and the education or training required beyond a high school diploma.
Achieve Pinal is aligning their action plans with the Achieve60AZ Strategies. Student achievement and post-graduate achievement in Pinal County will be measured and the next focus areas to be addressed are “opportunity youth” and high school students and their families.