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Upskill or Reskill
to get ahead through a DOL grant
Learning Opportunities Career

n $8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) can help provide the skills necessary to fill the 6.4 million job openings reported in the United States.

At W. P. Carey, the One Workforce grant will prepare students to capitalize on demand for high-paying jobs in the advanced manufacturing, cybersecurity, data analytics, and information technology fields. Also known as AZNext, the Arizona Workforce Training Accelerator Partnership for Next Generation Jobs program, aims to train at least 2,000 participants for permanent job placement during the next four years.

W. P. Carey collaborated with the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, and several external partners for the grant, including the Arizona Commerce Authority, the Arizona Technology Council, Arizona@Work, and Pipeline AZ.

“The grant program enables ASU to help the unemployed and underemployed find meaningful careers in fast-paced industries,” says Raghu Santanam, professor of information systems who leads the AZNext program. “It will also create career opportunities for underrepresented populations in technology-focused industries.”

AZNext is designed to use a combination of multidisciplinary and industry-relevant training, with multiple insertion points for degree-seeking or non-degree-seeking learners. AZNext will leverage programming from many colleges at ASU, and the external partners will be able to design innovative programs, including paid internships, train-to-hire camps, boot camps, and simulated work experiences. AZNext will also build on another grant-funded program through W. P. Carey: The Digital Workforce Apprenticeship Partnership was established through the business school’s first DOL grant to help close the skills gap in America’s IT workforce.

The Polytechnic campus in Mesa will host advanced manufacturing education, while the West campus will train students in the fields of biological data science and cybersecurity.

AZNext will also help W. P. Carey build on partnerships that already exist — like the train-to-hire program model with Fortune 500 company Cognizant, which began in 2019 and allows participants to complete a digital business analyst certificate program through W. P. Carey in 10 weeks, while potentially landing an opportunity to interview with Cognizant after completion.

Arizona ranks second in the U.S. when it comes to creating jobs in advanced manufacturing, cybersecurity, and information technology, and has filled more than 350,000 related positions since 2015. One of the many goals of AZNext is to build a workforce development model that not only works in Arizona but across the United States.

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