Aligned Workforce Development Efforts Support Businesses and Area Youth in Tempe


Career Ready Tempe will tackle barriers to employability for income-eligible youth.
Companies want to reach new youth talent pools, but often lack the capacity or expertise. We're bridging that gap.

It has been one month since participants were announced for the U.S. Chamber Foundation Career Readiness Lab and the Tempe Chamber of Commerce has been moving quickly to respond to the call for innovative, Chamber of Commerce-led programming to better connect classroom to career. This summer, the Tempe Chamber of Commerce will launch Career Ready Tempe, a youth workforce pilot program intended to tackle barriers to employability for income-eligible youth and help employers create a robust youth talent pipeline.

Career Ready Tempe proposes to develop the future workforce of Tempe so that it aligns with industry needs by providing youth with internships increasing the number of young people in Tempe who enter career fields that meet industry demands. Currently, the alignment isn’t there. By 2020, two-thirds of jobs in Arizona will require higher education. Today’s data shows only 52% of Tempe residents have completed a post-high school certificate or education.

Often, companies would like to reach new talent pools of young adults—especially in growing industries or those affected by skills gaps—but lack the in-house capacity or expertise. Career Ready Tempe can help Tempe businesses think strategically about the future and make sure the talent pipeline is being developed to support the economy 10 or 20 years from now.

This innovative approach has been strategically designed to align with industry needs and the City of Tempe’s TempeAchieves65 initiative, the Tempe City Council’s goal to reach 65 percent post-secondary degree attainment for residents by the year 2030. 

One key component will be paid summer internships with Tempe businesses that will be offered to eligible juniors and seniors in the Tempe Union High School District. The internship will focus on advanced business services, one of the largest employment sectors in the Tempe economy. Projections show there will be continued employment and advancement opportunities for years to come, preparing students for our future’s top jobs. 

“We are honored to have the opportunity to provide a work-based learning program to students who may not otherwise have the chance to experience a career pathway,” said Anne Gill, Tempe Chamber President and CEO. “We are grateful for the support we’ve received from the U.S. Chamber Foundation and look forward to partnering with our school district, business community, and city to have a positive impact on our youth while bridging the gaps in our talent pipeline.”

In addition, students who apply and are accepted into Career Ready Tempe will receive one-on-one career and college planning support by linking them to College Connect Tempe, a college and career exploration mentoring program housed within the City of Tempe’s Human Services Department. 

Not only will the Career Ready Tempe program offer participating Tempe businesses assistance in selecting and preparing student-interns, but program funds will also serve to compensate those who have been granted internship placement.

The solutions are there, all across the city. But they had not been connected to create seamless pathways for students to follow into a career. Now, that’s changing. The City of Tempe has been thoughtful about a strategic approach to the future economic strength of the city through a holistic, well-rounded approach to workforce development.