FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
June 8th, 2023
PHOENIX, Ariz. – The Helios Education Foundation awarded a $950,000 grant over two years to the Greater Phoenix Chamber Foundation’s (the Foundation) education initiative, ElevateEdAZ, to help expand dual enrollment. ElevateEdAZ works to align education to workforce learning pathways with the needs of Arizona’s leading industries. The primary objectives include increasing the number of students enrolled in and completing high-wage, high-demand career pathways, increasing student attainment of industry-recognized credentials and dual enrollment credit, providing more students with work-based learning experiences, and empowering educators to reimagine classroom learning through educator externships.
With the support of the Helios Education Foundation, ElevateEdAZ will expand dual enrollment efforts to build student and parent awareness of the benefits of dual enrollment, identify areas of highest opportunity for dual enrollment, and promote and incentivize teacher certification in areas of highest opportunity.
Dual enrollment allows high school students to earn college credit while in high school. It also provides students an opportunity to accelerate their post-secondary pathway, but access is not equitable. A recent report by Helios Education Foundation found only about a quarter of Arizona high school graduates took at least one dual enrollment course.
“We know from our research that students who take dual enrollment courses are twice as likely to attend college,” said Paul J. Luna, president and CEO of Helios Education Foundation. “This proves there are clear benefits to these college-level courses. It prepares students for the rigorous coursework they’ll face in college and gives them confidence that they’ll succeed.”
The grant awarded by the Helios Education Foundation will allow ElevateEdAZ to expand upon a 2022-2023 school year project with Mesa Public Schools and Phoenix Union High School District, which led to a 40% increase in dual enrollment in the fall of 2022. This grant will help identify and address student barriers to enrollment and provide incentives to teachers to get dual enrollment certified in key courses over the next year with the goal of providing more equitable access to students throughout the state of Arizona.
ElevateEdAZ strives to address student barriers by providing the awareness and support students need to make informed decisions about and access dual enrollment opportunities. Our strategic school district partnerships enable ElevateEdAZ to reach students most in need of support in accessing dual enrollment opportunities while also building a replicable model that can be used to improve secondary education and post-secondary access for all Arizona students.
This grant will also build on the $15.5 million approved in the state budget this past legislative session to expand access to dual enrollment. The Greater Phoenix Chamber and Helios Education Foundation worked to secure this state funding that will help offset the cost of dual enrollment tuition for students from low-income backgrounds.
“By increasing participation in dual enrollment, we aim to increase the number of students completing post-secondary degrees that lead to high-wage, high-skill positions in growing fields,” said Jennifer Mellor, chief innovation officer, Greater Phoenix Chamber Foundation. “In doing so, ElevateEdAZ will open doors for Arizona students, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds. We are proud to partner with the Helios Education Foundation on this important initiative.”
To learn more about becoming a business partner with ElevateEdAZ, visit https://elevateedaz.com/business and complete the ElevateEdAZ Businesses Partner Form. For more information on engaging your business, please contact Jennifer Mellor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Todd Sanders, President & CEO of the Greater Phoenix Chamber, and Jennifer Mellor, Chief Innovation Officer for the Foundation, are available for media interviews.
Launched in 2020, ElevateEdAZ prepares individuals for college and career through stronger alignment between education, business, and the community. ElevateEdAZ is focused on increasing the number of students completing high-quality education to workforce learning pathways that align with the needs of the industry and supports students in achieving industry-recognized credentials, attaining early post-secondary credit, and participating in capstone work-based learning experiences, such as internships and job shadows. For more information, visit https://elevateedaz.com.
About the Greater Phoenix Chamber Foundation
The Greater Phoenix Chamber Foundation convenes and catalyzes business, education, and community to enhance college and career readiness, develop a more robust workforce, and build healthier communities throughout Arizona. The Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit organization, leads the charitable and education initiatives of the Greater Phoenix Chamber under the four pillars of education, workforce development, wellness, and research. For more information, visit https://phoenixchamberfoundation.com.
About Helios Education Foundation
Helios Education Foundation exists to support postsecondary attainment for Latino students, Black students, and students from low-income backgrounds in Arizona and Florida. Driven by our fundamental beliefs of community, equity, investment, and partnership, Helios has invested more than $321 million in partnerships and initiatives focused on improving third-grade reading, college-going and postsecondary attainment in the two states we serve since 2006.