The Center for the Future of Arizona (CFA) today announced the launch of the Young Talent Progress Meter, informed by focus groups, statewide surveys, and statewide participation by Young Talent Advisors. The progress meter provides data on how the state is doing on issues of key concern to our state’s emerging leaders.
Arizona’s young leaders are critical to our state’s future success and we need their talents and contributions as leaders today and tomorrow. What factors will keep young Arizonans contributing to our communities and organizations in all sectors? To answer these questions, CFA embarked on a multi-year research project designed to capture the highest priorities of Arizona’s young talent and provide Arizona leaders and employers in every sector with a new understanding of this generation’s values and goals.
The process culminated with a survey that captured over 2,000 responses and thousands of comments from young Arizonans across the state. These responses, along with input from CFA’s Young Talent Advisors, helped shape the 13 metrics included in the Young Talent Progress Meter.
“We were struck by the outpouring of ideas, interest, and insights young people across the state have contributed to this project. They want to be heard and make an impact,” said Sybil Francis, President & CEO, Center for the Future of Arizona. “We are excited to help amplify their voices and bring data to the fore of this conversation about making Arizona a place where all young people thrive now and in the future.”
Echoed throughout the findings were universal themes: a quality education and access to opportunity for all, the need for healthy and vibrant communities, the pull toward purpose-driven careers, and the strong desire to make an impact and see future-focused, responsive leadership for Arizona. Some key findings from the data include:
- Community Impact & Responsive Leadership: What we have heard loud and clear is the desire to be listened to, to be engaged, and to have a voice. To find a community, to feel connected, and to have an impact.
And even more so, young Arizonans want to know that our leaders across sectors are in tune with the values and concerns of those they represent and are thinking long-term about the future.
They are concerned about diverse voices being heard at every level of discussion and ensuring that elected leaders represent the state’s interest.
- Equitable Access to Opportunity: We know that equitable access to opportunity and upward mobility is of key concern for young people across the state. Current data have illuminated the deep disparities and disproportionate impacts of the pandemic and economic crisis on young people and particularly communities of color. We know these issues are top of mind for young people in Arizona: access to a high-quality education, cost of housing, access to good healthcare.
In Arizona, our young people are telling us they are concerned. We heard about the education system, the lack of guidance counselors, and the need for support and social services to create a path forward. We heard about the pressures of affording childcare and housing, and the discouraging realities for those entering a challenging job market. These are meaningful challenges that we must confront head on as a state.
- Health & Sustainability: In all parts of the state we heard from young Arizonans the need to reimagine our concept of health and our healthcare system.
We heard of concerns with access and cost, navigating the system, and quality of care. We heard loud and clear the need to bring visibility to the mental health crisis impacting young people, in particular, and to think more holistically about health and well-being.
Young Arizonans are also concerned about long-term vision and planning when it comes to issues like water and environmental sustainability, how to reconcile natural resources with economic growth, and the impacts on generations to come.
- Purpose-Driven Careers & Inclusive Workplaces: For young Arizonans in the workforce, we are hearing more and more their desire to grow and thrive in purpose-filled careers. They care about sustainability, fairness, inclusion and diversity.
Here in Arizona, we heard these same values in our conversations and real concerns about opportunities for advancement and ongoing leadership. Working in places where they see a path to growth is important to young Arizonans across the state.
“With all of these complex challenges and opportunities, what can we do to make Arizona a magnet for young talent? We have begun the journey by asking questions and listening. And in doing so, we have seen powerful stories emerge of rising leaders across the state who are not only building a future here but contributing in vital ways right now,” said Francis. “A few things have become very clear to us in these conversations: We all want to be listened to. We are hungry for data to help make informed decisions. And we want to come together to solve problems. Our collective success will depend on this shared journey and active commitment.”
CFA’s Next Steps
The results of CFA’s statewide survey and the data made available through the Young Talent Progress Meter will inform an ongoing strategy led by CFA to spark dialogue and prompt action around the issues Arizona’s young people say matter to them. CFA’s next steps to advance this strategy include:
- Engaging young leaders statewide to amplify their voices and tell their own stories, to encourage us all to take action, and to work in their own communities to help create the kinds of workplace and community culture young adults seek,
- Driving statewide conversation around young Arizonans’ shared aspirations and concerns, and
- Bringing together rising leaders and established leaders to lend visibility to the concerns of young Arizonansand use the data to spark action by employers and policymakers that will respond to the concerns of young Arizonans.
CFA seeks active partnership with communities and leaders across the state to turn these data and findings into action to help make Arizona the place to be for young talent.
See the Young Talent Progress Meter.