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Business Leaders Push For More Career And Technical Education In Arizona

West MEC
(Photo by Christina Estes - KJZZ)
State board of Eeducation members tour West-MEC's automotive program in Phoenix.

The Arizona Board of Education, acting in its capacity as the State Board for Vocational and Technological Education, toured West-MEC’s campus in north Phoenix, where Director C.J. Williams ran through programs ranging from automotive repair to veterinary science.

“We do have real animals that we board on site," he said. "We work with Maricopa County Animal Care and Control and Pinal County Animal Care and Control.”

West-MEC’s programs fall under the umbrella known as career and technical education, or CTE. Typically, high school students spend half a day at a traditional campus and the other half at a campus offering CTE.

“The Baby Boomers in this country are retiring, and we’re not educating and training enough young people to adequately fill the skilled workplace that Arizona needs," Doug Pruitt told board members.

Pruitt, the longtime CEO of Sundt Construction in Phoenix, led Monday's presentation and pushed for more career and technical education.

“Our job is to give our kids an opportunity to be economically independent and pursues the American dream," he said.

Pruitt’s group asked the board to approve another option for students to earn a high school diploma. They call it the Arizona Career and College Pathway, a road focused on academics, employment and technical skills. The board is expected to take up the issue next month. 

As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.