Arizona spends $6.2 million in ARPA funds for career readiness, ‘democracy enrichment’

(The Center Square) – The Arizona Department of Education is funding a pair of programs to help students gain work and college experience and gain a better understanding of democracy.

The department will give $6.2 million to the Center for the Future of Arizona to conduct the programs.

“CFA is a proven leader in helping students understand the career paths available to them and how they can strengthen our state’s communities,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman said in a Thursday press release. “The Department’s partnership with CFA will pay dividends for Arizona’s students and our state as a whole long into the future.”

The funding will support these two programs, according to the press release:

  • Arizona Pathways to Prosperity (APTP) will receive $5.1 million for “college and career readiness” and opportunities for students. APTP gives “career exploration and guidance, direct experiences in the workplace, and an early start on earning college credit that leads to a career-connected degree or credential in high-demand career fields.”
  • School Participatory Budgeting (SPB) gets $1.1 million for K-12 students for democracy enrichment. The funding will allow CFA to “significantly expand SPB across Arizona to serve many more students and school communities impacted by the pandemic.”

The Center for the Future of Arizona expressed gratitude for funding.

“We are humbled to be stewards of not only these relief dollars but the important work to bolster support for Arizona students and families impacted by the pandemic these last few years. Their success is critical to the future of our state,” Dr. Sybil Francis, President & CEO of Center for the Future of Arizona, said in a press release. “This investment provides us a significant opportunity to expand the reach and impact of evidence-based initiatives shown to positively impact students and families for the short and long term.” 

Over the years, CFA’s work has impacted more than 330,000 students, 14,700 teachers, and 650 education leaders.  

These programs are funded with money from the American Rescue Plan Act. They are a part of Arizona’s ARP School and Community Grantees

“All funded projects share the goal of supporting schools, students, educators, and families as they recover from the effects of the pandemic,” the Arizona Department of Education said in its press release.