NAU, community colleges partner to launch Arizona Attainment Alliance

Oct 6, 2022, 4:45 AM | Updated: 10:14 am

(Facebook Photo/Northern Arizona University)...

(Facebook Photo/Northern Arizona University)

(Facebook Photo/Northern Arizona University)

Northern Arizona State University is partnering with all 10 community college districts across the state to meet what they view as one of the biggest challenges in Arizona: low college-attendance rates and attainment.

Together they are launching the Arizona Attainment Alliance, also known as A++.

“We feel that by coming together and really being purposeful and intentional, we can align our work in such a way that the number of Arizonans that will be able to earn a postsecondary degree will increase dramatically,” NAU President José Luis Cruz Rivera told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

Recent data shows 46% of Arizona residents 25-46 years old have completed a two- or 4-year degree or have an active professional certificate or license. The statewide goal is to increase that percentage to 60% by 2030.

Cruz Rivera said there are several ways NAU and community colleges can do that through the alliance.

“For example, we’ll be looking very carefully at our transfer agreements between community colleges and NAU,” he said.

“We’ll be looking at how we can better collaborate in dual enrollment programs in high schools so that students not only graduate with a high school degree, but also perhaps with an associate’s degree.”

The alliance also includes the Arizona Commerce Authority, which recruits companies to come here and knows what employers are looking for in their new hires.

Cruz Rivera noted the Arizona Commerce Authority can project how many jobs are coming to Arizona and what type of credentials are needed.

“That information is crucial for us so that we can ensure that our academic programs are better aligned to what is being projected for the state,” he said.

The Arizona Attainment Alliance will launch this fall. The first year will focus on coming up with a five-year roadmap of measurable actions they can take to increase college-attendance rates and attainment.

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NAU, community colleges partner to launch Arizona Attainment Alliance