New Arizona Chamber Foundation Report Looks at Programs that Prepare Students for Success in College and Career

PHOENIX (April 26, 2019) — The Arizona Chamber Foundation today released a policy brief outlining programs that help students prepare for post-graduation success regardless of whether they choose a college or career path.

The brief, Equity and Attainment: Achieving Two Goals with One Policy, examines the benefits of incentivizing multiple pathways to postsecondary success and looks at the experiences of states, such as Texas and Florida, that have implemented incentives for college credit by exam and industry certifications.

According to the paper, only 27 percent of Arizona’s public school students earn a postsecondary degree within six years of high school graduation. Yet, industries like Arizona’s manufacturing and computers systems sectors have more than 15,000 unfilled positions, many requiring an industry certification rather than a postsecondary degree. As noted by a recent Achieve60AZ report, Arizona must do better on both counts.

In 2016, Arizona implemented the College Credit by Examination Incentive Program (CCEIP), which provides school and teacher bonuses as an incentive to support students earning a passing score on a qualifying college credit exam. Lawmakers this year updated the law to ensure teachers get paid on time and to allow a larger cohort of teachers to share in the bonuses. Governor Doug Ducey signed HB 2176 into law on April 17.

Similar programs exist in Florida and Texas and have been expanded to bonuses for students earning high-demand professional certifications. Equity and Attainment found that in Florida, after expanding the program the percentage of students earning industry certifications increased by an eye-popping 8,751 percent between 2007 and 2015—from a mere 803 certifications in the 2007-08 school year to 105,131 during the 2017-18 school year. The paper suggests Arizona could have similar success if lawmakers explored the possibility of expanding the CCEIP to include industry certification and weighted these incentives for campuses serving low-income populations.

“Our goal is to prepare every student for success following high school. Just as pathways to college are critical, so too are pathways to today’s in-demand jobs, which often rely more on specialized technical training than traditional college coursework,” said Dr. Matthew Ladner, Arizona Chamber Foundation Senior Research Strategist. “Strengthening incentives for earning college credit and creating a program to encourage the earning of high demand industry certifications can help students achieve success regardless of the route they choose.”

# # #

About the Arizona Chamber Foundation
The Arizona Chamber Foundation is a non-profit, objective educational and research foundation. We are committed to a non-partisan, research-driven approach that analyzes the issues impacting Arizona’s economy. It houses the A for Arizona and Chamber Business News initiatives. Find out more at