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Higher-Ed Leaders: Getting College Grads Into Job Market Necessary For Economic Growth

(Photo by Casey Kuhn - KJZZ)
Maria Harper-Marinick and Michael Crow speak at a panel put together by the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce.

The governor just rolled out his proposed budget, with dollars aimed for primary education, but higher-education leaders say their programs are being left out of the funding conversation.

The heads of Arizona State University and the Maricopa County Community College District spoke to business members Tuesday about where economic policy and higher-education cross.

Both discussed how Arizona is behind in educational attainment, and, in getting college graduates into the job market, saying the state isn’t where it needs to be for a growing educated workforce.

ASU President Michael Crow says bringing together local businesses and students will help, but so is being involved in economic policy in the state Legislature.

“It’s really important that higher education be involved because we are the producer of the highest form of human capital, that is people, the most prepared to do new things," he said.

Crow says ASU leaders are concerned about the decreased state funding for the university.

MCCCD Chancellor Maria Harper-Marinick says investment in the community colleges is something she hopes the Legislature will address.

“I don’t know that there is an influence from the colleges into economic policy development," she said. "We are not in many cases even part of the conversation. That has to change.”

Harper-Marinick says the colleges are reaching out to legislators and the business community to help get more college graduates into the Arizona workforce.

EDITOR'S NOTE: KJZZ is licensed to Rio Salado College, one of the Maricopa County Community College District schools.

Casey Kuhn reports from KJZZ’s West Valley Bureau. She comes to Phoenix from the Midwest, where she graduated from Indiana University with a degree in journalism.Kuhn got her start in radio reporting in college at the community public radio station, WFHB. She volunteered there as a reporter and worked her way up to host the half-hour, daily news show. After graduating, she became a multimedia reporter at Bloomington's NPR/PBS station WFIU/WTIU, where she reported for and produced a weekly statewide news television show.Since moving to the Southwest, she’s discovered a passion for reporting on rural issues, agriculture and the diverse people who make up her community.Kuhn was born and raised in Cincinnati, where her parents instilled in her a love of baseball, dogs and good German beer. You’ll most likely find her around the Valley with a glass of prosecco in one hand and a graphic novel in the other.She finds the most compelling stories come from KJZZ’s listeners.