One of the biggest challenges for Pinal County is the majority of people in the workforce are commuting to Maricopa county to work. When this happens, Arizona’s tax dollars, your local retailers, grocery stores and markets struggle to compete when people are spending their money closer to work.
About a year ago, Local First Arizona conducted a youth focus group in Apache Junction. The No. 1 thing kids said they want in their community — beyond a water park and a movie theater — is more jobs for their parents. They discussed how dad rarely made it home in time for dinner or mom missed ball games or school functions because of their commute to and from work.
The recent launch of Pipeline AZ is critical to talent retention, economic strength and regional resilience in Pinal County.
Pipeline AZ is a unique platform where those seeking employment — actively or passively — can take a quick career assessment that aligns their skills and interests with industries and employers nearby. Pipeline AZ helps people of all ages at all stages in their career discover opportunities they never knew existed. The platform will also show them the local path for education, certifications or degrees that may be required for employment.
Over the past year and a half to two years, Pinal County has touted extensive economic development success. Many new employers are coming into this area offering great jobs. The challenge is that job seekers don’t know that their skills and interest might be the perfect fit for these jobs. Imagine a high school graduate who is now 23 years old, has been working in hospitality, and has no idea that those skills align so well with sales management, marketing, business management or even starting a business of their own.
Beyond opportunities for youth, there are many industries where experienced workers have been employed their entire careers. They may not be aware that new opportunities exist and their skills and experience in one industry may relate to a completely different industry where they could find new inspiration, new challenges and new knowledge.
Pipeline AZ helps rural talent find rural job opportunities that can raise the bar for the entire community. We are adding new employers to Pipeline AZ every day. These employers are in Pinal County and want to hire residents of Pinal County.
The team at Local First Arizona has dedicated staff to help connect job seekers to the employers directly on Pipeline AZ. To learn more, go to localfirstaz.pipelineaz.com.
Editor's note: Liza Noland is director of rural programs for Local First.