(The Center Square)– Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne announced the Arizona Education Economic Commission last week with international and regional partners amid skills and hiring concerns with new businesses in the state.
The commission is in collaboration with Switzerland, the Navajo Nation, and Taiwan in order to find methods like apprenticeships to fill technical skill-focused jobs in Arizona with people who are properly trained. Specifically, the commission intends to develop “frameworks” with the hopes of keeping and growing talent in the state.
“My obsession is to make sure that Arizona’s public school students are academically prepared to succeed in our economy, and the Arizona Education Economic Commission is critical to achieving that goal,” Horne said in a statement. “It is especially important that as students begin to develop their career aspirations that the education system encourages and nurtures those goals. The advantages for students are tremendous. For example, the starting salary for a high school graduate working at the TSMC operation after an apprenticeship will be $70,000.”
Taiwanese participation in the commission, as well as Horne’s reference to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company is notable, as the facility in north Phoenix moved back its expected opening date to 2025. A major concern with the chip plant is a lack of skilled American workers to operate the facility, which resulted in Gov. Katie Hobbs announcing workplace safety plan in addition to putting a downpayment on an apprenticeship program, The Center Square reported in August.
Taipei Economic and Cultural Office Director General Amino C.Y. Chi said that he’s grateful for the recent partnerships between the Arizona state government at Taiwan, which has experienced heightened tension with the Chinese government in recent years.
“As a Founding member for the Arizona Education Economic Commission, you may be aware that Taiwan is very well known for its innovation, technology and vocational education, thus I am confident that our two sides can launch many possibilities to mutually benefit each other in the near future,” Chi said in a statement.
International economic partnerships made waves in Arizona politics this year, as trade and investment offices opened in both Taiwan and South Korea in March. Hobbs visited both nations with Arizona Commerce Authority President and CEO Sandra Watson in September, The Center Square reported at the time.