AZ Workforce: Latinos, Youth and the Future

Reports and Publications
October 2008
Nancy Welch

With unemployment up, consumer spending down, and governments facing revenue shortfalls, Arizona must become more competitive than ever before. AZ Workforce: Latinos, Youth and the Future, produced as part of the ASU Office of Public Affairs’ César E. Chávez Leadership Lecture, examines the “unfinished business” of Arizona’s workforce.

The report notes reasons why the workforce remains a critical issue:

• A skilled workforce is critical to expanding the state’s economy. Arizonans must have the skills employers need. Arizona ranks 17th on Milken Institute’s State Science and Technology Index overall, but 33rd among states on the Human Capital Index.

• Demographic shifts have put workforce issues front and center.

• Aging and minority growth in light of enduring disparities make Arizona’s current workforce a priority.

• Arizona’s employers will have to look harder at homegrown workers. Conservatively speaking, for every K-12 student another Arizonan needs help with skills. For example, more than 430,000 Arizonans do not speak English well, while more than 600,000 Arizonans did not finish high school.

• AZ Workforce looks at big picture facts and figures about the state’s 3-million-strong workforce.

• By 2030, Arizona may have more than 10 million residents. A key part of the big picture is that the generation replacing older workers has less education than today’s mature workforce.

Funding and support provided by Helios Education Foundation, SCF Arizona, Greater Phoenix Leadership, and Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.