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Achieve60AZ Initiative

Airdate: February 16, 2017
Achieve60AZ is a community alliance initiative made up of organizations throughout Arizona with the goal of advancing educational success. Rich Nickel, College Success Arizona CEO and also one of the community directors for Achievev60AZ talks about the initiative.

Guests:
  • Rich Nickel - College Success Arizona CEO
Category: Education

Keywords: education, community, initiative,

View Transcript
JOSE: ACHIEVE60-A-Z IS A COMMUNITY ALLIANCE INITIATIVE MADE UP OF ORGANIZATIONS THROUGHOUT ARIZONA WITH THE GOAL OF ADVANCING EDUCATIONAL SUCCESS. JOINING ME TO TALK ABOUT THE INITIATIVE IS RICH NICKEL, C-E-O FOR COLLEGE SUCCESS ARIZONA. RICH IS ALSO ONE OF THE COMMUNITY DIRECTORS FOR THE ACHIEVE60-A-Z INITIATIVE. RICH, WELCOME BACK. TO "HORIZONTE". TELL US FIRST WHAT ACHIEVE 60 MEANS AND THEN I WANT TO DISCUSS HOW THIS CAME TO BE.

RICH NICKEL: ALL RIGHT. ACHIEVE 60 IS REALLY THE BRAND NAME FOR THE GOAL THAT ARIZONA HAS SET AND THE GOAL IS 60% OF ATTAINMENT OF OUR WORKING ADULT AND ACHIEVEMENT IS HIGH VALUE CERTIFICATES OR A DEGREE. 60% WITH A DEGREE OR CERTIFICATE BY 2030.

JOSE: WHERE ARE WE NOW?

RICH NICKEL: 30% HAVE AN ASSOCIATE DEGREE OR ABOVE AND 5% HAVE A HIGH VALUE CERTIFICATE.

JOSE: WHERE DOES THAT PLACE US WITHIN THE STATES IN THE SOUTHWEST?

RICH NICKEL: WE ARE SOMEWHERE AVERAGE MAYBE SLIGHTLY BELOW WITH THE EXCEPTION OF NEW MEXICO. WE HAVE PLACES TO WORK IN LIKE COLORADO. TEXAS AND WASHINGTON WHERE A LOT OF TALENTED STUDENTS ARE GOING HAVE ATTAINMENT RATES QUITE A BIT ABOVE US.

JOSE: AS I UNDERSTAND, WHERE WE DID STAND OUT IN THE NEGATIVE WAY WAS WE DIDN'T HAVE A SET GOAL.

RICH NICKEL: YES, WE STARTED TAKING A LOOK AT WHAT WE MIGHT BE ABLE TO DO IN THE NEAR FUTURE TO GET US MOVING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION AND REALIZED ARIZONA IS ONE THE ONLY FEW STATES IN THE COUNTRY WITHOUT A GOAL LIKE THIS. WE HAD NOT TAKEN A LOOK AND EXAMINED HOW WE NEED TO ALIGN OUR ATTAINMENT RATE WITH THE FUTURE MARKET. IT WAS A WAY TO GET THE COMMUNITY TOGETHER AND SET A GOAL.

JOSE: BY WHEN ARE WE HOPING TO HAVE THIS?

RICH NICKEL: 2030 IS THE TARGET DATE. THE WAY WE LOOKED AT THAT IS NUMBER ONE YOU NEED TIME TO MAKE THOSE NUMBERS MOVE BUT ALSO REALLY LET'S US HAVE CHILDREN THAT ARE VERY YOUNG IN THE SYSTEM GET THROUGH THE PIPELINE AND GO ON AND GAIN ACCESS TO THE COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY.

JOSE: YOU REFERRED TO THIS AS A STATE-SUPPORTED GOAL IN WHAT SENSE? WHAT ROLE IS THE GOVERNOR’S OFFICES AND OTHERS PLAYING?

RICH NICKEL: 360 AZ IS AN ALLIANCE OF 60-70 COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS NOW. SO IT IS COMMUNITY-OWNED. THAT IS THE INTENTION AND DESIGN. BUT THE GOVERNOR HAS BECOME VERY SUPPORTIVE OF THIS IDEA. I THINK THAT REALLY THE SWEET SPOT FOR HIM. THIS IS SOMETHING I THINK THE GOVERNOR CAN GET BEHIND AND HELP SUPPORT BOTH WITH RESOURCES AND HOPEFULLY SOME DAY FINANCIAL RESOURCES. BUT THE COMMUNITY CAN OWN THIS AND TAKE IT UP THROUGH THAT LONG DATE OF 2030.

JOSE: WHERE ARE WE NOW IN THE PROCESS OF GETTING THIS GOING?

RICH NICKEL: WE ANNOUNCED THIS IN SEPTEMBER OF LAST YEAR. REALLY, WHAT WE HAVE DONE SINCE THEN IS FUNDRAISING AS A COMMUNITY-BASED ORGANIZATION TO GET FUNDS TOGETHER TO DO AN INTENSIVE PROJECT DESIGN STAGE. WE HIRED A PROJECT DIRECTOR TO TAKE US THROUGH THE PROJECT DESIGN STAGE. WE HAVE AN INITIAL BOARD OF DIRECTORS RUNNING US THROUGH THE INITIAL PHASE OF THIS UNTIL WE FIGURE OUT WHAT IT IS AND THAT IS PROBABLY GOING TO BE AROUND THE MIDDLE OF THE YEAR.

JOSE: WE TALKED A LITTLE ABOUT THIS BEFORE COMING ON THE SET. YOU MENTIONED THERE ARE FOUR PEOPLE THAT ARE INVOLVED AT THE MOMENT.

RICH NICKEL: FOUR COMMUNITY DIRECTORS ARE WATCHING THIS AND HELPING IT OFF THE GROUND. MYSELF, PRESIDENT EILEEN CLINE, THE PRESIDENT OF THE ARIZONA BOARD OF REGENTS, THE CHANCELLOR FROM THE MARICOPA COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT AND HELIOS.

JOSE: THEY ARE VERY SPUPPORTIVE.

RICH NICKEL: THEY ARE. THEY CAME TO THE TABLE WITH THE FIRST GRANT.

JOSE: WHEN DO YOU THINK TO HAVE SOMETHING BACK FROM THE CONSULTANT?

RICH NICKEL: I THINK WE ARE LOOKING AT A JUNE TIME FRAME. AS A COMMUNITY-BASED INITIATIVE WE ARE LOOKING AT WHAT KIND OF STRUCTURE WE HAVE. WHERE THE ORGANIZATION IS RESIDING, HOW WE FUND IT MOVING FORWARD AND MORE IMPORTANT THAN THAT WHAT WAS INITIALLY ACHIEVED IN THE ORGANIZATION AND HOW CAN WE MAKE THE IMPACT TO GET US TOWARD THE GOAL AND MOVE THE NEEDLE.

JOSE: YOU MENTIONED WE WERE ONE OF THE FEW STATES THAT DIDN'T HAVE A GOAL. WHAT HAPPENS WITH THE STATES THAT HAVE SET GOALS?

RICH NICKEL: LIKE ARIZONA MANY STATES ARE NEW IN THE PROCESS.

JOSE: IS THIS A NEW THING SWEEPING THE COUNTRY?

RICH NICKEL: IT IS NOT NEW EVERYWHERE BUT THERE HAS BEEN A RECENT SURGE AROUND OBTAINMENT GOALS. I THINK PEOPLE ARE REALIZING ESPECIALLY GETTING THE NUMBERS THAT SAY 70% OF YOUR STATE'S JOBS ARE GOING TO REQUIRE POST-SECONDARY TRAINING TO MEET THE DEMAND WE CAN ONLY EXPECT IN THE NEXT FEW YEARS STATES ARE GETTING INTERESTED IN ALIGNING THE LABOR FORCE AND THE EDUCATION WE HAVE TO TAKE ADVANTAGE AND MAXIMIZE THE POTENTIAL OF THE JOBS COMING IN. THAT HAS BEEN HAPPENING ALL OVER ESPECIALLY CHANGING FROM RURAL TO A MORE TECHNOLOGY-BASED JOB. YOU HAVE TO HAVE THE TRAINING AFTER HIGH SCHOOL.

JOSE: HOW DOES THE FACT WE HAVE SUCH A LARGE ETHNIC STUDENT POPULATION HERE AND PEOPLE IN THAT AGE GROUP AND YOUR WEBSITE TALKS ABOUT THAT. HOW DOES THAT PLAY INTO WHAT YOU GUYS ARE DOING?

RICH NICKEL: IT IS VITAL. CAN REALLY CAN'T WE UNDERSTATED. WE TALK ABOUT STRATEGIES FOR THE K-12 PIPELINE AND GETTING ADULTS RETURNING TO SCHOOL AND HELPING PEOPLE GRADUATE FROM HIGH SCHOOL THERE IS ONE UNDERLYING ISSUE AT HAND AND THAT IS WE HAVE A FAST-GROWING LATINO POPULATION IN THE STATE. IT IS REALLY JUST A MATH PROBLEM. IF YOU HAVE A FAST-GROWING POPULATION AND THAT POPULATION DOESN’T INCREASE THEIR OWN ATTAINMENT RATES AND WE DON’T ENCOURAGE THAT, THEN THE ENTIRE STATE'S ATTAINMENT RATE CAN GO DOWN. EVEN IF WE STAY THE SAME IN THE YEAR’S FORWARD BECAUSE OF THE FAST GROWING TREND LINE --

JOSE: WE WILL LOSE GROUND.

RICH NICKEL: WE WILL LOSE GROUND.

JOSE: THANK YOU FOR JOINING US ON "HORIZONTE" TO TALK ABOUT IT.