• August 2019 Membership Meeting

    The Case for Business Engagement in Public Education


  • "The collaborations that ABEC braids together are such a wonderful example of how we must work together to ensure access to high quality education for all Arizona children.” 

                        ~John Carruth, Chief of Staff to Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction, The Honorable Kathy Hoffman


    The Case for Business Engagement in Public Education

    Friday, August 23, 2019

    9:00am - 1:00pm

    Desert Willow Conference Center 

    4340 E. Cotton Center 


    Neil Giuliano, President & CEO, Greater Phoenix Leadership      (Neil's Bio)

    • Business and education are joined at the hip in the need to improve education together to make Arizona better.
    • Some businesses have shied away from relocating to Arizona because of perceived lack of talent and weakness in the education system.
    • Business is needed in collaboration with educators to identify issues in the workforce and vet solutions.
    • We cannot solve the problem if all the stakeholders are not in the room at the same time discussing the same mission and agenda and form a consensus on a path forward.  People have to come together to debate, argue, compare, work from facts, agree and compromise on a plan and support it in the public square.  Can’t afford an “a la carte” approach – simply not sustainable. 
    • Need a long-term comprehensive plan that clearly articulates goals. 
    • Need to build a consensus.
    • He challenged decision makers to focus on "what is going to outlive you."
    • He asked “What happens if we don’t?  What kind of Arizona do we want?"  We must work to build a consensus that is fair, accurate, an inclusive process for all stakeholders to work together for a long term outcome.



    • James Lowey, CIO, TGEN  (James' bio)
    • Ted Maxwell, President & CEO, Southern Arizona Leadership Council (SALC)  (Ted's bio)
    • Bob Meyer, President & CEO, Phoenix Children’s Hospital  (Bob's bio)
    • Mary O’Reilly, Ph.D., Vice President Bioscience Research Programs, Flinn Foundation  (Mary's bio)
    • Lisa Urias, Managing Partner, CoNecs North America  (Lisa's bio)

    Panelists responded to these questions: 

    • Given the theme of our meeting today, “The Business Case for Public Education Engagement,” what ideas could you propose to energize and improve outcomes?
    • Are we moving forward with business and career opportunities at a sufficient pace outside of  Maricopa County?  If not, what can we do to ensure a more equal, statewide focus on our business and education opportunities?
    • How can education leaders better engage business leaders to promote both successful and thoughtful exchanges of ideas that can find support in the Governor’s Office and the State Legislature?
    • STEM careers and opportunities are an acknowledged priority by nearly everyone; legislators, business leaders and educational institutions.  What is the next major step we need to take to better achieve and realized this objective?
    • Do you believe internships and work-related experiences with major STEM employers are being utilized at a high enough rate, or do we need to explore other ideas to link aspiring students to STEM careers?
    • What short piece of advice can you give us, both education and fellow business leaders, on how we can best work together with policy makers on our state’s education needs?


    • Public education is the infrastructure for business. ‚Äč
    • Workforce drives opportunities – prepare an educated workforce and business will come. 
    • Shift in business from just being profit oriented to improving social issues such as education.


    • We need to know each other’s needs first and then build plans that benefits business and educators. 
    • A comprehensive plan should only have three main goals – plan can’t be too broad.
    • There must be value to all: the students, the school and the employer.  
    • Find the common ground between business and education and the common good for the State as a whole to have education be the backbone for talent quality for Arizona. 
    • Public education needs to redefine itself and push to reshape the narrative.  Need to change the trajectory.  (We have lost the fundamental understanding of what public education does.) Challenge is to change the paradigm.  
    • Legislators try to divide.  Must have one voice.


    • We must carefully use our time and scarce resources to render the biggest impact on our students.  Use more of those scarce resources on the teacher coming to the workplace and learning new workplace knowledge, processes and application of real world issues to embed in their lessons and this will provide a bigger impact, over time, with a larger population of students. 
    • Use Skype and other technology tools to bring the world of work into the classroom on a more regular basis. 
    • Education needs a sustainable source of finance.
    • Need Equity for all of our students in order for our State and all of its students to be successful and that may take varied approaches and varied resources. 
    • Some indicated there have been many improvements in the education system and recruitment is not as big an issue as it was even 5 years ago.


    • Every child is curious.  How do we give them the tools they need to succeed?  Mentors in classroom so important.  Multiple experiences and exposures so important.  
    • One good teacher can change the trajectory of a student. 
    • Students completing two CTE courses are 95% more likely to graduate. 
    • How do students choose a career?  Huge need for CTE!  
    • Writing skills and communication skills are a major concern for business. 


    John Carruth, Chief of Staff to Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Honorable Kathy Hoffman  (John's bio)

    • Briefed us on the tasks ADE is taking on:
      • working to simplify the budgeting roadblocks and laws that impair implementation,
      • working on the Adult programs to get more of our 700,000 adults to high school completion that require only modest amount of dollars,
      • developing a more common language and learning framework so we can better talk to each other and our patrons about programs, outcomes and challenges for different students. 
    • Talked about the need to better clarify special education, its funding, categories, and implementation across delivery systems of schools.


    Rufus Glasper, President & CEO, League for Innovation in the Community College   (Rufus' bio)

    • Talked about the current forces that are unbundling the P20 education system and putting it into smaller chunks for all learners.
    • Certificates that require shorter time to completion.
    • Stackable credentials that can be earned along the way to AA, AAS, BS and beyond. 
    • Listen to employers.
    • He asked: "What do employers want and need in the STEM era and are our education systems accommodating them fast enough or will disruption make some of our institutions dinosaurs?"
    • The revolution is here.  What role will you take?


    Dan Dever, U.S. Census Bureau Partnership Specialist

    • the 2020 census is so important to schools, elections, distribution of federal dollars
    • the history of the census which is required constitutionally.
    • He offered to meet with schools to provide information and historical knowledge.

    You can reach Dan by email at Danny.m.dever@2020census.gov; or by phone at 602.315.2146, or Brianna Hatchett, who is working with him, by email at Brianna.c.hatchett@2020census.gov; or by phone at 602.315.1046.


    Over 130 business, education, community leaders and elected officials attended and comments included: 

    • Great event: on time, on point, wonderful speakers 
    • Every minute here is valuable;  Great use of time – thank you.  
    • Hearing unique ideas & perspectives;  Learning – very good speakers, panels, etc.
    • Variety
    • All the new information, meeting new people, sharing ideas
    • Seeing business & education officials interact and enlighten each other
    • Building a coalition to improve funding for schools
    • Discovering where the gaps of understanding exist about education and what business can do.


    Don't miss the next ABEC event:  The Membership Meeting, Friday, November 22, 2019.   Watch for the announcements with details!