• Business Education Partnerships

  • MyFutureAZ


    Arizona Business & Education Coalition

    and Center for the Future of Arizona

    Collaborate to Support

    Development of Innovative Career Exploration Platform


    Arizona Department of Education’s MyFutureAZ will utilize Pipeline AZ platform and prepare Arizona students for careers in Arizona’s evolving economy

    What is MyFutureAZ?

    A Statewide Technology “free” platform for career awareness, exploration, development and placement, for all our students grades 5 through college, as well as our employers.


    Why? Helping middle school students make informed decisions regarding their education as they prepare to transition into high school and beyond is critical in exciting and motivating students about their futures. As students begin to develop their career identity they need to be exposed to the myriad of available careers, the skills required for these careers, and how they link to education goals.

    Read the Center for the Future of Arizona (CFA) press release here. 



    Developing the workforce in your community! 


    See what the students are doing! 

    Construction slide show


    Computer Science slide show


    Public Safety slide show




    Career Exploration in Yuma! Check it out! 




    For more information on this exciting opportunity contact: 

    Debra Raeder
    Vice President Programs

    ABEC Career Exploration and Development (ACED) Project 

    2100 N. Central Avenue, Suite 210

    Phoenix, AZ 85004




  • National Governors Association (NGA) focuses on Career Exploration and Workforce Development


    Dr. James K. Zaharis, Ed.D., Executive Vice President, Arizona Business & Education Coalition (ABEC), participated in a panel at the NGA National Conference on Wednesday, September 29, 2021, at the Sheraton Grand, Wild Horse Pass, Chandler, AZ, which focused on developing the talent pipeline.   Joining Jim on the panel were John Lee, Amazon Web Services (AWS) Program Manager, Education to Workforce Team,   Ian Roark, Vice President of Workforce Development and Strategic Partnerships, Pima Community College, Raghu Santanam, Professor and McCord Chair of Business in the Information Systems Department, W.P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University (ASU)

    Highlights of Jim's remarks: 


    • ABEC navigated bringing business and education together to increase the quality and quantity of  the talent pipeline for organizations such as Amazon web services (AWS) as they developed their presence in Arizona and link with school districts, Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA), ADE, and others to bring industry based certifications to the teachers and students of Arizona.  This model can now be instrumental with other industries that want to build their talent pipeline in Arizona and need help in navigating the Arizona landscape of organizations, regulations and how we can help them use our network to accomplish their goals. 
    • ABEC's vision and a driving force in its work is to build economically independent citizens, and in parallel to that, linking the supply side of the talent pipeline with the demand side of Arizona industries.  
    • ABEC in collaboration with the Center for the Future of Arizona (CFA) and GPEC (PipelineAZ) helped develop a statewide technology platform, free to all students from middle school through higher education to help them select their career paths, education opportunities and in demand careers available to them. This was then linked to industry needs, thus emphasizing how together we can help build a thriving Arizona economy.  ABEC's role is to collaborate, convene, link and advocate all parties as an honest broker to help build a strong Arizona for our youth and our economy.
    • ABEC worked and continues to work with School Districts, CTED’s, State leadership, and foundations, to make this a reality for teachers with a goal of reaching over 5000 students with AWS I cloud certifications that have economic currency in the marketplace.
    • Jim's final thought:  “prevention is always better and less costly than remediation” and that is why we work on education solutions to champion for our students' futures and strengthen our economic competitiveness."
  • Wondering how you can be involved in a meaningful way in developing your talent pipeline?

    Develop the workforce in your community!   ABEC's award winning Career Exploration Project!


    The ABEC Career Exploration and Development (ACED) Project, in collaboration with business and community partners, introduces middle and high school students to different career pathways for the purpose of

    • helping students better understand the relevancy and application of the courses they take in school; 
    • introducing information and hands-on activities that are community driven and focused on key workforce demands and career; and
    • helping students understand and make wise course selections in high school.



    The Career Exploration and Development Project provides a meaningful and successful project for business and education to partner, and is designed to meet the shared common goal of preparing students to enter and succeed in the workforce. ABEC wants all Arizona high school graduates to be prepared for either post-secondary education or the workforce and so recognizes that there must be a focus on the "forgotten middle" -- those years when our youth start to make informed or uninformed decisions about their futures. Business partners are eager to participate because this project provides them a meaningful role in shaping career modules and providing classroom presentations and hands-on activities that support students in recognizing and pursuing careers that will help meet future economic and workforce demands.


    ABEC specifically targets schools with limited capacity to implement career exploration activities on a large scale, providing a successful framework for businesses to partner with schools. 


    • Collaboration with Business Partnerships to leverage expertise and resources and provide career exploration activities aligned with future workforce needs. 
    • Career Exploration Activities customized to meet the needs of each school, the students they serve, and participating business partners.
    • Professional Development to prepare teachers in implementing career exploration software/curriculum.
    • Parent Engagement including parent meetings, surveys, and activities related to the career exploration project. 


    Join ABEC today and become a SUSTAINING PARTNER of this exciting project that provides your business a direct role in developing your workforce of tomorrow!


    Over these first eight years the Career Exploration and Development Project has delivered close to a 1,000 hours of direct career exploration activities, through 90 unique career modules, to over 2,400 middle school students.  It is estimated that 200+ businesses and community partners have participated in the project through financial and/or in-kind support, classroom presentations, and field trip opportunities.   The financial and in-kind support from participating business partners exceeds $250,000. 


    "Middle school students need to start connecting to their own personal vision for what career or work they like and want to do and connect that vision with their education. The ABEC Career Exploration Project is a successful and meaningful model for business-education partnerships that is positively impacting the lives of students."  ~  Gina Schmitz, former Principal, Landmark School, Glendale Elementary School District. 


    It can be argued that one way to measure success is whether the project can garner news media interest; win local, state, or national awards or recognition; or that students in the project are also participating in or winning local, regional, state or national competitions.  Proudly, the Career Exploration & Development Project can boast success in all of these areas as the project has grown and expanded over the past six years. 

    • Landmark School was awarded first runner-up for the prestigious WestMarc Best of the West, Educational Program Award in November 2017.
    • ABEC received the ACPE 2017 Pathways Award for the AMSCEP at the ACPE Higher Education 13th Annual Conference in December 2017.
    • In 2016 and 2017, two Landmark teams, as part of the IT Modules, participated in the First Lego League Robotics regional competition. In 2017, Sunset Vista also had two teams from the IT Module participate in a regional competition. 
    • In 2016 and 2017, the Landmark Health Module partnered with the Moon Valley High School student health care club, AzHOSA, and students competed both years at the state convention winning top awards and the opportunity for students to compete each year at the national competition in Florida and Texas respectively.   
    • The Arizona Chapter of the Associated General Contractors Young Constructors Forum received the 2017 Associated General Contractors’ Community Special Recognition Award for work with and support of the Landmark Construction Module.
    • The Landmark Fire CERT Module received a 2017 FEMA Individual and Community Preparedness (ICP) Awards Honorable Mention.  

    Download the 6-year (2023-2019) summary report.

  • Historically...


    ABEC was formed by Arizona's business, education, and community leaders who understand that our future economic success is directly linked to the success of our K-12 schools. Education is a shared responsibility among all community stakeholders: the family unit, the educational provider and future employers. In its commitment to improve student achievement and strengthen the state's future workforce, ABEC has realized that there is a need and strong interest from various stakeholders for more quality partnerships between schools and businesses. Such quality partnerships will ultimately lead to improved student achievement and a stronger work force of tomorrow.

    Not all business leaders actively advocate for specific public policy issues; but many are interested in public K-12 schools and are willing to assist. Many businesses are looking to invest their time and money into education, but want to be certain that their investments are tied to results.  Understanding that school resources are limited, and that the time businesses have to partner is valuable, ABEC committed to developing and implementing a project that excites and motivates students about their education and future world of work.