Spotlight on Arizona – Communities that Work Partnership

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Spotlight on Arizona - Communities that Work Partnership

Monday, November 28, 2016
The Communities that Work Partnership based in the Greater Phoenix region, led by the Arizona Commerce Authority, is focused on engaging and creating initiatives between business, education, and government to develop and retain its workforce in information technology (IT), an emerging driver of regional economic development.
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STEVE ZYLSTRA, ARIZONA TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL: Information technology (IT) is one of the growing sectors here in Arizona. There are well over 200 Software as a Service (SaaS) companies. We're #2 in the nation for data centers. And actually, IT is ubiquitous. It's in every kind of company today. The biggest challenge in IT talent is actually in software development. There's not enough talent to meet the demand.

ROSALYN BOXER, ARIZONA COMMERCE AUTHORITY: And from that, we learned and started to work on a program of work, on how we can assist the IT occupations in all industries.

ZYLSTRA: The Communities that Work initiative was really about acquiring the expertise and experience of the Aspen Institute staff. [Boxer] ACA, in partnership with the Arizona Tech Council and also with Cox Communications—we all three work together to develop the application for Communities that Work.

DAVID HEDBURG, COX COMMUNICATIONS: Cox will benefit from this partnership by continuing to have a pulse on the IT market in the region and recruiting, and also to be able to strengthen our partnership with Arizona Commerce Authority as well as the Arizona Technology Council.

BOXER: Our focus was to provide the talent pool that the companies were asking for, to grow the IT industry here in Arizona.

ZYLSTRA: What we learned is that we're not alone. Other people around the United States are addressing the same sort of concerns and issues, and it's allowing us to apply best practices that are being applied around the U.S. to reduce that gap between supply and demand. We started adapting what we learned to our own strategies, and that's well on its way to being executed as we speak.

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