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  • 7. Employer Engagement / Coordination with Economic Development

    Business services team
    Providing a centralized resource for employers is what makes the Pima County Local Workforce Development System an essential part of the region's economic development strategy. Day-to-day support for companies in recruiting, hiring, training and retaining qualified employees must be coupled with strategic workforce planning and sector strategies in order to position key industries for expansion and high-wage job growth.

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    a. Coordination with Economic Development

    Provide a description of how the local board/local area will coordinate workforce investment activities carried out in the local area with economic development activities carried out in the region in which the local area is located .

    The Pima County One-Stop Business Services Team is routinely contacted by Sun Corridor Inc., the local regional economic development organization, and regional chambers of commerce to discuss questions presented by businesses interested in expanding and locating in Pima County. Sun Corridor Inc. represents southern Arizona, encompassing four counties in Arizona (Pinal, Pima, Santa Cruz and Cochise). Sun Corridor Inc. focuses targeted business development activity in the following industry sectors: Aerospace and Defense, Bioscience, Solar, and Transportation and Logistics.

    The Pima County One-Stop is also represented on the Pima County Economic Development Team (EDT), which works closely with local and regional economic development partners and practitioners in southern Arizona and at the state level. The Pima County EDT hosts a quarterly meeting with all the economic development practitioners in Southern Arizona in order to share information and develop collaborations.

    The Pima County One-Stop Business Services Team members belong to a variety of business organizations such as the Arizona Association of Economic Developers, the Society for Human Resource Managers (SHRM), and several Chambers of Commerce. Team members attend meetings, represent the One-Stop system, and help conduct job fairs for these organizations.

    The Pima County One-Stop is a key partner in the Innovation Frontier Arizona (IFA) which a regional talent development initiative that brings together partners in education, workforce development and economic development in Yuma, Cochise, Santa Cruz and Pima Counties. The effort is focused on developing southern Arizona as a center of excellence for homeland security and advanced technology by fostering talent development, entrepreneurship and regional collaboration.

    Tucson Air Guard

    b. Focus on Sector Strategies

    Provide a description of how the local board/local area will focus on sector strategies (include a description); include statewide sectors that exist in the local area plus local area specific sectors.

    The Pima County Workforce Investment Board (WIB) targets the following six (6) industry sectors:
    • Aerospace and Defense; Manufacturing Subsector
    • Emerging Technologies
    • Health and Bioscience; Healthcare Subsector
    • Infrastructure
    • Logistics; Transportation Subsector
    • Natural and Renewable Resources
    The WIB’s six (6) industry sectors correspond with the Arizona Commerce Authority’s (ACA) and Arizona Workforce Council’s (WAC) Arizona’s Integrated Workforce Plan – Industry Sectors:
    • Advanced Manufacturing
    • Advanced Business Services
    • Aerospace and Defense
    • Bioscience and Health Care
    • Optics/Photonics
    • Renewable Energy
    • Technology and Innovation/Semi-conductors
    The WIB has helped to establish and support industry sector partnerships in the following subsectors:
    • Aerospace and Defense - Manufacturing Subsector
    • Health and Bioscience - Healthcare Subsector
    • Infrastructure – Construction and Design Subsector
    • Logistics - Transportation and Supply Chain Subsector

    Pima County One-Stop Business Team members are working with WIB member and Co-Champion Molly Gilbert, Director of University and Community Engagement, Tech Parks Arizona, The University of Arizona, and supporting efforts with other aerospace employers in the Tucson area who make up the Aerospace and Defense Industry Sector Partnership.

    This partnership is industry driven with the purpose of identifying and addressing the needs of the employers. As of September 2016, they have identified three immediate goals:
    1. To develop a qualified workforce;
    2. To target top opportunities; and
    3. To tell their technology story.

    As part of goals two and three, the partners are working to create an asset map. The map will help establish capabilities as well as gaps in Tucson. The map will create a framework for future collaboration among employers by identifying growth opportunities.


    Pima County One-Stop Business Team members also provide support and resources to the Aerospace and Defense - Manufacturing Industry Sector “Southern Arizona Manufacturing Partnership (SAMP)”. SAMP is a committed group of 40 Tucson manufacturing companies working in close partnership with the ARIZONA@WORK Pima County One-Stop, Pima Community College (PCC), Desert View High School and Tucson Magnet High School and working in collaboration with Pima County Joint Technological Education District (JTED) student precision machining/manufacturing programs.

    This partnership’s goal is to help develop the manufacturing workforce of the future. SAMP held its first meetings in 2012 and has focused on addressing the local shortage of skilled machinists. This organic public-private partnership has resulted in a growing pipeline of young adults entering the machining occupation and accessing a clear sequence of aligned educational offerings, work-based learning opportunities, and credentials.

    At this time SAMP is ready to look at the broader Aerospace and Defense Industry Sector that accounts for the preponderance of manufacturing activity in Tucson. The group has been involved in convening new discussions concerning welders, aircraft maintenance technicians, electro-mechanical manufacturing (or ”mechatronics”) technicians.

    SAMP is also participating in a new work group focused on strategies to grow the sector through identifying and maximizing key capabilities.

    Until now SAMP has been an informal organization and has relied upon Pima County for administrative support. However, the group has developed significant organizational strength and media attention, and is recognizing that its members have overlapping priorities that are better served by a single organization. SAMP is now in the process of formulating bylaws and leadership structure to support incorporation. The group will form additional committees as needed to facilitate replication to new occupations of the process that was used to develop the machining pathway.

    A planned aerospace and defense sector study of key competencies in tandem with broader sector development strategies will allow SAMP to hone in on emerging training areas that would position the industry to grow.

    Pima County One-Stop Business Team members and CSET staff are actively involved in the Health and Bioscience - Healthcare “Tucson Healthcare Industry Sector Partnership” and serve on the partnership’s Workforce Talent Development Committee. This partnership’s Champion is Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild.

    Convened in 2015 by City of Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild with Sun Corridor Inc. and the Pima County WIB, the Tucson Healthcare Sector Partnership has engaged executive-level participation from more than 25 health care providers in the Tucson metropolitan area, with a work group established to focus on Talent Development, as well as Coordination/Collaboration, Innovation and Medical Tourism committee.

    After exploring the issues of talent supply versus demand and financial and other barriers to people entering and advancing in the healthcare field, the Talent Development Committee has focused on mapping, improving, promoting, and supporting career pathways.

    Subsequently, the Committee has been exploring existing career-pathway initiatives, including the Pima County JTED’s Health Foundations Program and the Health Profession Opportunity Grant (HPOG) partnership of Pima Community College and Pima County.

    The Pima County One-Stop is partnered with the PCC HPOG HOPES Program that trains low-income eligible students for careers in high-demand healthcare fields. This PCC program is funded by an HPOG from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and supports the Healthcare Partnership that will help to meet the demand for skilled professionals in the local healthcare industry and provides low-income Pima County residents with opportunities for stable employment and a professional career.

    As a new HPOG grant is being implemented the Talent Development Committee has the opportunity to become the industry advisory committee for the HPOG career pathways.

    Recognizing that a key next step is inform more health care employers about HPOG; encourage them to take advantage of its benefits; and engage them in providing input and feedback on services, the committee is planning to hold a Health Care Employers’ Forum in fall 2016.

    Additional opportunities identified by the committee include:
    • Mapping more career advancement pathways to higher-skilled, specialized health care occupations;
    • Identifying and highlighting shortage areas based on projected growth;
    • Expanding financial support options to address system gaps (e.g. eligibility “holes” and effective placement services); and
    • Raising awareness of health care careers.

    WIB members Michael Guymon, Vice President, Regional Development, Sun Corridor Inc., and Gregg Johnson, Past WIB Chair, University of Phoenix (retired), spoke to the Bioscience Leadership Council of Arizona (BLCSA) and the Southern Arizona Leadership Council (SALC) about the importance of sector partnerships. The message that they provided was that while their organizations are already a great group of leaders and employers, Michael and Gregg explained what a formal Industry Sector Partnership could do for them with support from the WIB, the One-Stop and other community and employer partners.

    WIB members Michael Guymon and Gregg Johnson led efforts to establish the Infrastructure - Construction and Design Industry Sector Partnership. As of July 2016, the partnership is at a standstill after efforts to support the passing of bonds related to their industry were unfortunately, not passed by voters. The Champion of this partnership is Rob Lamb, GLHN Architects and Engineers.


    Pima County One-Stop has been a partner of the Southern Arizona Logistics Education Organization (SALEO), a logistics, transportation, and supply chain industry group, since its inception in 2007, to develop logistics/supply chain certificates and degrees in three (3) Southern Arizona community colleges and at Northern Arizona University.

    SALEO was born from the need to heighten awareness and spotlight the importance of the transportation and logistics industry and especially the role that this industry plays in the southern Arizona regional supply chain as a catalyst for economic development. As a volunteer organization, SALEO has helped with curriculum development for supply chain management studies which has been adopted by Pima Community College, Cochise College, and Arizona Western and has been articulated into advanced degrees at Northern Arizona University and University of Arizona South.

    SALEO holds monthly meetings where logistics professionals network, share best practices, and learn from expert presentations on various logistics topics. SALEO's objectives support regional economic development by working with the chambers and various economic development entities. Its volunteer efforts help support and market the logistics service providers in the Arizona-Mexico region to advance and improve the efficiency of goods movements. SALEO also plays an advisory role with regional planning agencies in transportation planning and infrastructure development and serves as a logistics subcommittee for Innovation Frontier Southwest (IFS) as described below.

    The Arizona Sun Corridor - Get Into Energy Consortium (ASC-GIEC) is a group of community colleges and industry stakeholders that formed to create sustainable energy workforce pathways to train students for in-demand careers. In 2012, the five college consortium, which includes Pima Community College, received a U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant to develop career pathways for energy technicians and engineers.

    The result is a pathway in Building and Construction Technology with concentrations for Electrical and Gas Utility technicians to move into paid apprenticeships or internships and then into careers with Tucson Electric Power Company, Southwest Gas and other utility industry partners.


    Industry sectors thrive and grow in a regional context that allows adequate scale for efficient development, sufficient economic diversity to weather ups and downs, and intra-regional linkages (historical, social, infrastructural) to promote collaboration and innovation.

    Innovation Frontier Southwest (IFS) is a consortium of economic development organizations, local government, higher education and workforce development entities working in the border region of southern Arizona and New Mexico.

    IFS capitalizes on shared assets in aerospace and defense, transportation and logistics, and post-secondary education and research, as well as shared priorities such as border security and healthcare.

    The consortium originally formed in 2007 as Innovation Frontier Arizona through a regional innovation grant called WIRED. Workforce development entities were the leads in each county, and IFA projects focused on talent development, entrepreneurship and regional collaboration infrastructure. IFA has brought $20M in federal workforce training grants into southern Arizona.

    Since 2012 The University of Arizona, Tech Parks Arizona has lead an expansion of the partnership to include Pinal County and New Mexico State University with support from the Arizona Commerce Authority and New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership. The approach is organized around sub-regional “nodes” in Yuma, Tucson, Sierra Vista, Casa Grande, and Las Cruces.

    In 2013 IFS was awarded a $273,000 planning grant from EDA – focused on border technology manufacturing. The grant is now in its final stages, and has completed a detailed inventory of regional assets including:

    • Testing and evaluation facilities
    • Supplier capabilities
    • Commercial and academic innovation and research grants
    • Workforce training programs as well as significant gaps

    As a result, the regional partners now have a powerful new cloud-based data set containing detailed, actionable intelligence about companies, institutions, education/training programs, and research.

    Company interviews and surveys give qualitative insight, and a historical “framing tool” offers searchable narratives for use in regional marketing and branding efforts.

    Going forward the IFS consortium seeks to establish an organization that would draw from existing local workforce development boards and sector partnerships to:

    • Maintain and manage data;
    • Market a regional identity;
    • Leverage a regional asset menu;
    • Coordinate development efforts; and
    • Respond to grants and leads efficiently.

    World View

    c. Employer Engagement

    Provide a description of how the local board/local area will facilitate engagement of employers, including small employers and employers in in-demand industry sectors and occupations, in workforce development programs.

    Business Services Team members routinely visit employers, of all sizes, in order learn about the companies, determine the industry sector(s) they may fall under, and the challenges and needs of the companies.

    Surveys conducted by the Business Services Team help the workforce system gauge industry specific long term hiring needs and skills gaps. Surveys can lead to focus groups from specific industries and different companies who participate often agree they face similar skills shortages.

    The Business Services Team then facilitates the engagement of focus groups with education and/or training institutions to adapt current training offerings or develop new training offerings that meet the industry’s needs. These become part of a Sector Strategy. The Pima County WIB has identified six (6) industry sectors and Business Services Team representatives are assigned to the sectors.

    Vet Fair

    d. Meeting Businesses Needs

    Provide a description of how the local board/local area will support a local workforce development system that meets the needs of businesses in the local area.

    The Business Services Team has some natural areas of expertise that need to be coordinated. Some employers have existing relationships with agencies and their staff, and that is one of the strengths that partners bring to the One-Stop system. Some partner staff, such as Veterans, Dislocated Workers, and Rehabilitation Services and non-profit staff have an expertise in the special situations of the job seekers they bring to employers.

    Employers are given choices when they post jobs. They may set up a job fair or job club at any partner’s location, they may have candidates assessed, they may ask that candidates be funneled through one representative, or they may just post the job and see who gets referred.

    The Tucson Indian Center, D.E.S. Workforce Services, Vocational Rehabilitation Services, and PCC host large job fairs throughout the year, while WIOA Title IB staff and the local Fred G. Acosta Job Corps use small industry specific job clubs, in-house recruitments and job networks to connect employers to prospective employees.

    SAMP Interviews

    e. Employer-driven Initiatives

    Describe the implementation of initiatives such as incumbent worker training programs, on-the-job training programs, customized training programs, industry and sector strategies, career pathways initiatives, utilization of effective business intermediaries, and other business services and strategies, designed to meet the needs of employers in the corresponding region in support of the strategy described in paragraph (1)(F).

    Pima County WIB will invite employers to partner with the ARIZONA@WORK Pima County One-Stop system to promote employee retention and advancement by connecting incumbent workers to career pathways. By targeting high-demand occupations in which vacancies are relatively difficult to fill with qualified employees, sector partnerships will focus on developing career ladders or lattices from the occupations for which applicants are relatively plentiful, usually entry-level positions.

    Incumbent worker training programs and on-the-job training (OJT) contracts will be used as tools to build these career pathways initially, with the ultimate goal of establishing new stackable credentials as eligible training providers for WIOA funding. Engaged WIB members will be invited to be pilot partners for incumbent worker training and other career-pathways development.

    Feedback from the targeted sectors helps drive the development of new training and career pathway initiatives that can involve several partners and intermediaries, such as local industry groups, local employers, local non-profits, PCC, the Pima County Joint Technical Education District (JTED), Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education, WIOA and Job Corps. It can also generate the development of industry specific contextualized adult education or the limited English proficiency program through WIOA and the Adult Education System.

    With leveraged funding from various employment and training resources, the One-Stop partners in Pima County have a long track record of and continuing to develop and provide career pathway training initiatives for job seekers and incumbent workers in the Pima County WIB’s six (6) target sectors, using grants, OJT’s, industry support and formula funds. 

    unemployment form

    f. Unemployment Insurance Programs

    Provide a description of how the local board/local area will strengthen linkages between the one-stop delivery system and unemployment insurance programs.
    The Workforce Investment Board (WIB) is strengthening linkages between the ARIZONA@WORK Job Centers and the unemployment insurance programs that are offered by the local Employment Service (ES) offices.

    ES has a network of public employment offices providing placement services for job seekers and labor force recruitment services for employers.

    ES has staff located at all the ARIZONA@WORK Job Centers where they  offer workforce development services in addition to the ARIZONA@WORK Job Centers throughout the state of Arizona.

    The ARIZONA@WORK Job Centers staff work with the ES staff to assists job seekers from all walks of life and all are committed to working with the ARIZONA@WORK System Partners to ensure job seekers have access to the full menu of services available from unemployment to career planning.

    Several populations require more assistance than the standard job seeker, at times requiring staff to spend more time with them. Some examples include:

    • Veterans;
    • Homeless veterans;
    • Low-income clients and recipients of public assistance;
    • Ex-Offenders;
    • Individuals with limited English proficiency;
    • Unemployment compensation claimants;
    • Unemployed, underemployed individuals;
    • Migrant and seasonal farm workers;
    • Older workers; and
    • Individuals with a disability.

    The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) requires that each Local Workforce Development Board (LWDB) must include at least one representative from the state WIOA Title III Employment Service Program  under the Wagner-Peyser Act serving the local area.

    In order to meet the WIOA board requirement and to help strengthen linkages between the ARIZONA@WORK Pima County One-Stop delivery system and unemployment insurance programs, the Pima County Workforce Investment Board (WIB) does have the Arizona D.E.S. Workforce Administration’s Pima County Workforce Manager serving on the Pima County WIB.

    Additional One-Stop Workforce Service staff also attend the WIB monthly meetings that always provide opportunities for unemployment insurance staff to initiate and strengthen partnerships.

    The meetings also provide staff the opportunity to share information gained from both employers and job seekers, allowing community leaders to better identify the types of training that will prepare unemployed workers for needed local jobs.

    Workforce Service also provides staff for the ARIZONA@WORK Pima County One-Stop Business Services Team which enhances the Partners’ responses to the needs of the business community.

    Local offices routinely receive employers’ requests for workers to fill a wide range of jobs from entry level to highly qualified positions. Among them are professional, technical, and managerial positions, clerical and sales jobs, service occupations, manufacturing work, agricultural employment, machine trades, and skilled crafts. Having Workforce Service staff located at the two ARIZONA@WORK Pima County One-Stop Comprehensive Career Centers provides quicker response times for the employers and the job seekers.

    With the implementation of WIOA, Workforce Service staff has taken on a new role in the ARIZONA@WORK Pima County One-Stop Centers by participating in the design, implementation and provision of services through the Welcome Team.

    In some instances, the roles are shared with One-Stop Partners for a seamless delivery of services, including but not limited to: 
    • Front desk screening for services;
    • Conducting orientations;
    • Completing partial registration of the customer in AJC during the triage process;
    • Determining the appropriate provision of services and completing a referral; and
    • Scheduling appointments for services within the workforce system.
    • Ongoing cross-training and information sharing sessions are scheduled with all One-Stop Partners to ensure that Workforce Service staff and the Partners all have updated information and knowledge of each Partners’ services. Our ultimate goal is to provide quality services to the employers and job seekers.

    Arizona Adult Education staff is working with D.E.S. to enter into a Data Sharing Agreement regarding Unemployment Insurance (UI) Wage System Information. Currently, follow-up with students after program exit relies on the survey method. This proves to be very challenging as programs are only able to make contact with a small percentage of students one to three quarters after exit.
    The Data Sharing Agreement will help to strengthen linkages between the Title I (Adults, Dislocated Workers, Youth), Title II (Adult Education), Title III (State Employment Services), and Title IV (Vocational Rehabilitation Services) Partners and the Unemployment Insurance programs.

    The process of data sharing across the Pima County Core Programs will help to ensure that the Core Programs are able to share key data for their shared clients. This process will support the customer-centric goal of Arizona’s workforce system by facilitating the coordination of services and preventing service duplication.

    A data sharing agreement will be fully implemented for the Pima County workforce system. Partners intend for the data sharing agreements to include access to unemployment insurance wage record information as authorized by state law.

    The use of cross-system data matches will provide the statistics required to establish data-driven decision making across the workforce system. For example, data matches can identify successful programs in terms of placement, retention or wage growth. These successful programs can be targeted for growth, development and replication in other areas.

    Underlying components of all strategies concerning data include the identification and maintenance for secure processes for data collection, storage, transmission, and evaluation, along with adherence to all security protocols.

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