Many people mistakenly believe the City of Phoenix has some role in our public schools. The truth is that we have no control over them, whatsoever. They are entirely separate political entities. That doesn’t mean we can’t and don’t have a role in education.
Phoenix currently has a number of programs in career development and ongoing education, and I have argued for a significant use of the Covid monies Phoenix has received to expand these facilities and programs. The next step should be a massive expansion of our coordination with Arizona’s community colleges, using city-owned lands to expand Joint Technical Education (JTED) facilities where students and adults alike can earn technical degrees and certifications. This is a critical area of our future economy, with very high-paying, stable, and rewarding careers available to graduates, and we don’t have anywhere near the number of individuals with these skills in our workforce. However, current programs often don’t meet the specific needs of local employers, so they need to be redesigned a bit to focus on programs that will directly move people from these schools into opportunities in our growing tech and biotech industries. The way to do that is simple: have them be designed by the employers themselves. There is some collaboration towards this end, but it must be expanded, and quickly. With Taiwan Semiconductor opening their facility in a few years, demand for people with these skills is about to skyrocket.