Arizona Expands Critical Field Degree Opportunities for High Schoolers

by Tom Joyce


Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed legislation to allow career and technical education districts to offer associate degrees.

Ducey signed House Bill 2034, which hopes to increase students’ education levels.

“Arizona’s career and technical education districts are equipping students with the skills to fill the jobs of tomorrow,” Ducey said in a press release. “These high schools are teaching the ‘shop’ classes of the 21st century – often integrating with industry partners and providing students with real-world experience in top industries. Now, students will have higher education at their fingertips, in familiar settings.”

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Michelle Udall, R-Mesa, said that the law would provide students with educational opportunities they otherwise would not receive.

“Our career and technical education schools help Arizona students become workforce ready and get stellar degrees at the same time and place,” Udall said in the release. “This is a very exciting opportunity for students in pursuit of an associate degree. H.B. 2034 boosts our career and technical education districts so students can receive their associate degree and readily enter the field. Governor Ducey has been a leader in expanding education choice and I thank him for signing this bill.”

Arizona has 101 schools in 14 career and technical education districts. The East Valley Institute of Technology (EVIT) in Mesa is among the districts that plan to offer students associate degrees under this program.

The industries, according to Arizona @ Work, are; Construction, Health care and social assistance, Professional and technical services, Information Technology, Finance and insurance, Manufacturing and Transportation and warehousing.

“I would like to thank Governor Doug Ducey, Rep. Michelle Udall, House Speaker Rusty Bowers, Representatives Walt Blackman, Frank Carroll and all legislators who supported House Bill 2034,” EVIT Superintendent Dr. Chad Wilson said in the release. “In allowing CTEDs to offer associate degrees, this legislation gives Arizona students and families another choice for higher education and will increase the number of skilled professionals in high demand Arizona industries. House Bill 2034 is good for our students, communities, industry partners, tax payers and the great state of Arizona.”

CTEDs in Arizona served about 155,930 students as of the 2020-2021 academic year. Their programs had a passage rate of more than 97%.

“CTEDs will be able to offer associate degrees for programs that are on the in-demand industries and careers list created by the Office of Economic Opportunity and Arizona Department of Education,” the governor’s office said, “In demand careers include health care, information technology, finance, manufacturing and transportation.”

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Tom Joyce is a contributor to The Center Square.


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