Article originally posted on AZ Big Media on November 15, 2022
A new report ranks Arizona and Maricopa County as national leaders for adding skilled jobs and workers over the last five years. For the fifth time in the last six years, Maricopa County claimed the no. 1 spot in the Talent Attraction Scorecard released by Lightcast, a global leader in labor market analytics.
New this year, the report ranked states for their talent attraction ability, scoring Arizona in the top-five.
Contributing to the state’s top rankings were high marks in areas such as:
• 3rd-highest job growth – At 6.8%, Arizona saw the third-highest percentage job growth, beating out Florida and Texas.
• 4th-highest growth in education attainment – At 15.8%, Arizona experienced the fourth-highest percentage increase in educational attainment, a metric that measures the number of adults over 25 with at least an associate degree.
• 5th highest growth in skilled jobs – At 11.8%, Arizona gained the fifth-highest percentage of skilled jobs, which are jobs that require more formal education or advance training.
The report reflects Arizona’s highly effective and innovative workforce development programs and continued attractiveness for advanced companies in sectors such as manufacturing and technology.
“Over the last eight years, we’ve established an environment that serves as a magnet for jobs and people and we aren’t slowing down,” said Governor Doug Ducey. “Arizona not only is a place for high-tech innovation, it’s a state where anyone can get a good education, enroll in skills training, and find a quality job waiting for them. Our state believes in empowering and encouraging work. This is our recipe for boundless success – one that promises continued opportunity and prosperity for generations to come.”
Arizona’s attractiveness for new residents factored large in the rankings. Among all U.S. counties, Maricopa County experienced the largest numeric population growth between July 1, 2020 and July 1, 2021, with more than 58,200 new residents added. The state of Arizona ranked third in numeric population growth in the latest Census while the state’s workforce has added people for 27 consecutive months.
“One of Arizona’s top strengths is our talented and skilled people – and this report is further recognition,” said Sandra Watson, President and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority. “These rankings reflect our proactive and collaborative approach to building connections among universities, community colleges, and industry – charting new paths for students and workers to gain in-demand skills. With the eyes of the world on Arizona, we look forward to continually building on these efforts.”
The state also has received national recognition for its workforce development efforts. In 2021, the state launched Drive48, a state-of-the-art training center south of Phoenix that’s a collaboration among Central Arizona College, Pinal County, and industry. Since its opening, more than 1,700 Lucid employees have completed programming, which features hands-on training with assembly robots and other equipment critical to electric vehicle manufacturing.
To build on Drive48’s success, this year, Governor Ducey allocated $30 million to build six additional advanced manufacturing training centers around the state, which will feature industry partnerships in fields such as semiconductors, batteries, electric vehicles, and more.
The state also has pioneered an advanced training curriculum, known as the Arizona Advanced Technology Network, while continuing to invest in skills training at universities and community colleges.