by Angela Askey, Executive Director Public Relations and Marketing

Central Arizona College recently hosted the Arizona Advanced Technologies Corridor Industry Skills Summit. More than 80 college representatives and manufacturers participated in the one-day technology session.

Central Arizona College, Maricopa Community College District and Pima Community College heard from companies such as Raytheon, Intel, Lucid Motors, Abbott Nutrition, Honeywell, and others. The industry leaders in the room represented more than 18,000 employees and more than 400 years of personal experience in the manufacturing industry.

A primary input from the industry leaders was their concern about finding the skilled workers upon which their success relies. A special technology-enabled process captured every response from the event’s participants.

In February, the three community college districts signed a charter to create a uniform curriculum to support the advanced manufacturing sector in Maricopa, Pinal and Pima counties, and the findings from this event are being used to inform that effort.

Trevor Stokes, Workforce Program Manager with the Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity stated, “Industry partners were appreciative and provided kudos to the colleges for doing something out of the box to address their needs.” He added, “The value of the manufacturing sector to our economy cannot be overstated, and we are very optimistic about these developing partnerships.”

Attendees offered perspectives on the needed personal competencies and technical skills graduates should have as they enter the workforce and provided input as to what the curriculum should look like.

The group was able to draw some valuable conclusions:

  1. Attitude and teamwork were identified as critical skills for every stage of a manufacturing career.
  2. A large majority of participants are optimistic about the future of their industry in Arizona.
  3. Manufacturing employers value personal and interpersonal skills, like work ethic and verbal communication very highly, especially in entry-level positions.
  4. The value of a manufacturing career is not only in the entry-level position, but also in the likelihood that with a little perseverance, an individual can move quickly into more sophisticated and much higher-paying roles.
  5. The manufacturing career of the future will require a willingness to learn and develop expertise in multiple disciplines.
  6. Certifications from the National Institute for Metalworking Skills are valued at every stage of career progression.

For further information regarding the Arizona Advanced Technologies Corridor Industry Skills Summit please contact Trevor Stokes at or 602-771-0480.