Education Leadership Group kicks off roadshow

The Education Leadership Group (ELG) kicks off roadshow, showcasing report on urgent need to reimagine career development in Arizona through interdisciplinary collaboration

(PHOENIX, ARIZ. April 19TH, 2021) – “Dear Arizona: A Call from Educators” a report from the Education Leadership Group (ELG) is embarking on a statewide virtual roadshow to facilitate the collaboration needed to address the barriers to student career readiness. The roadshow is an opportunity for organizations to have members of the ELG present the report with an in-depth explanation of findings and recommendations to better the Arizona workforce in the future. Organizations can download the full report, share the findings, and sign-up to request a presentation at

“Dear Arizona: A Call from Educators” is a comprehensive analysis of the urgent need to reimagine career development for all Arizona students to secure the workforce pipeline for the future. The report is the result of a year of workshops, research and discussions through the Education Leadership Group, composed of educators, administrators and leaders from wide-ranging education organizations across the state dedicated to improving talent outcomes. The report analyzes the opportunities, gaps and redundancies facing Arizona talent and career development across the student lifecycle and offers insights to create a better approach to career exploration for students at every stage of their education journey.

Through a detailed workshop process, the report identified seven key challenges for Arizona while identifying three needs for immediate action, including creating:

  • More equitable access to career exploration.
  • A singular, shared technology infrastructure.
  • A feedback loop between industry and educators.

“Our vision is to make Arizona the national showcase of workforce innovation, through collaboration across the talent development ecosystem,” said Jim Zaharis, co-chair of the ELG.

“Talent development is the foundation of economic development,” said Richard Condit, co-chair of the ELG.  “This effort needs advocates, and our future will be defined by collaborative action. This report aims to close the disconnect between industry and education so that we can better prepare the workforce and get students more equitable access to careers they are passionate about.”

“As a career development and exploration tool designed for the Arizona community, connecting and amplifying the work of partners is core to our mission,” said Katherine Pappas, Director of Workforce Strategy for Pipeline AZ. “The roadshow is an opportunity to engage and activate industry, educators and community organizations across the state on the findings and recommendations of the report. Through collaborative efforts we can better equip employers with a future-ready talent pipeline in our state.”

ELG Team

Aaron Ball, Director, College Career Pathways, Center for the Future of Arizona

Abby Wilkymacky, Founder, Mindflower Studio

Amanda Abens, Dean of WorkforceDevelopment and Continuing Education, Pima Community College

Amanda Nolasco, School Counselor Specialist, Career Technical Education, Arizona Department of Education

Angela Hardy, Career Connections, Arizona Department of Education

Anne Landers, Vice President, Strategic Impact, Junior Achievement

Aric Bopp, Executive Director, Economic Development, Arizona State University

Aysha Bell, Director of Employer Relations, Grand Canyon University

Bill Symonds, Director, Global Pathways Institute

Breanne Bushu, Director, Policy & Communications, Achieve60AZ

Brenda Sipe, Director of Continuing Education, Northern Arizona University

Brian Fischer, COO, Futures Inc.

Carole Basile, Dean and Professor, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, Arizona State University

Carolyn Vasos, Senior Advisor of Strategy at Black Barons Group

Cathie Raymond, State Director, Career Technical Ed, Arizona Department of Education

Chad Wilson, East Valley Institute of Technology

Chris Coleman, President, Economic Independence LLC

Christine Thompson, President & CEO, Expect More Arizona

Cindy Erwin, Director College Career Pathways, Center for the Future of Arizona

Daniel Barajas, Associate Vice Chancellor for Workforce Development, Maricopa County Community College District

David Arellano, Dean of Enrollment Management, Pima Community College

David Bolman, Provost, University of Advancing Technology

David Brown, Chief Executive Officer, Valley Leadership

Dean Duncan, Executive Director, Partnership for Economic Innovation

Debra Raeder, Vice President of Programs, Arizona Business Education Coalition

Denise Kingman, Program Manager, Pima Community College

Douglas Small, Director, Strategic Business Partnerships, Northern Arizona University

Dr. Chad Wilson, Superintendent, EVIT

Gayla Stoner, Vice Provost, Northern Arizona University

Geoff Cramer, CEO, Futures Inc.

Gina Vance, Associate Vice President, Northern Arizona University

Gregory Donovan, Superintendent, West MEC

Gregg Ghelfi, Business Development Officer, Maricopa County IDA

Haley Fagerlie, Executive Director, Strategic Employer Initiatives Internships Grand Canyon University

Hank Radda, Provost, Grand Canyon University

Ian Roark, Vice President of Workforce Development & Strategic Partnerships, Pima Community College

Irene Robles- Lopez, Vice President of Student Affairs, Pima Community College

Jennifer Kaufman Fourness, Interim Director Workforce Operations, Maricopa Colleges District

Jennifer Mellor, Chief Innovation Officer, Great Phoenix Chamber of Commerce

Jeremy Babendure, Executive Director, SciTech Institute

Jim Zaharis, Vice President, Education at Arizona Business Education Coalition

John Mulcahy, Assistant Superintendent, West MEC

Julie Stiak, District Director, Center for Curriculum and Transfer, Maricopa Community Colleges

Karen Quick, Junior Achievement

Karla Phillips, Associate Dean, Yavapai College

Katherine Pappas, Director of Workforce Strategy, Pipeline AZ

Kathy Prather, Superintendent, Pima County Joint Technical Ed

Katie Belous, Research Analyst, Pipeline AZ

Kelly Sandin, Corporate Engagement, Arizona State University

Kevin Imes, Superintendent Southwest Technical Education District of Yuma (STEDY) CTED

Kimberly Vegliante, Workforce Development Manager, Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce

Leah Palmer, Executive Director, AZAMI, Mesa Community College

Leo Goncalves, VP Workforce Solutions, University of Phoenix

Linda Beck, Executive Assistant, League for Innovation Community College

Marlo Loria, Director of CTE Innovative Partnerships

Marty Levy, Chief Executive Officer, Level Up Growth Partners

Mary Foote, Managing Director, Pipeline AZ

Melanie Baca, Project Manager, Arizona State University

Melanie Burm, Director, External Affairs, Workforce Development & Community Partnerships, Scottsdale Community College

Meredith Warner, District Director, Integrated Student Services, Maricopa Community Colleges

Mickie Lara, Career Management Coach, Arizona State University

Nicole Thompson, Dividion Director, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, Arizona State University

Pam Ferguson, Executive Director ACTEAZ

Patricia Green leaf, Director of Academic Affairs, Pima CTED

Patti O’Brien, Chief Operating Officer, Maricopa Corporate College

Rachel Yanof, Executive Director, Achieve60AZ

Randy Kimmens, VP, Strategic Partnerships, Futures

Richard Condit, President Economic Independence, LLC.

Rufus Glasper, President and CEO League for Innovation in the Community College

Salvador Bretts, Vice President at MidFirst Private Wealth Management

Stephanie Tomlin, Director of Marketing Partnership for Economic Innovation

Stephen Weltsch, Assistant Superintendent for Teaching, Learning and Campus Operations, West MEC

Stuart Rice, Director, Digital Initiatives, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, Arizona State University

Suzanne Desjardin, Dean of Students, Pima Community College

Tina Norton, Assistant, Pima County JTED

Todd Hardy, Vice President, Arizona State University

Tracy Baynes, Founder and President STEP Expedition

Troy Pottgen, Co-Founder/ Creative Director, Narwhal Stories

William Symonds, Director, Global Pathways Institute

Willie Higgins, Director of Apprenticeships Office, State of Arizona

Zachary Stringer, Program Assistant, Pipeline AZ

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