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Greater Phoenix Chamber Foundation’s ElevateEdAZ Receives $125,000 Grant from The Cigna Group Foundation
By Lindsay Hansen - Wednesday Oct 04, 2023
The Cigna Group Foundation awarded a one-year grant of $125,000 to the Greater Phoenix Chamber Foundation’s education initiative, ElevateEdAZ, to help expand healthcare-related career and technical education (CTE) pathways. ElevateEdAZ works to align education to workforce learning pathways with the needs of Arizona’s leading industries. The primary objectives of this program 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 Cigna Group Foundation grant funding, ElevateEdAZ will expand CTE healthcare pathways and transform students' education by creating stronger connections to industry. The Greater Phoenix Chamber Foundation is working with its Healthcare Workforce Collaborative and partner schools to identify and design an additional Career and Technical Education (CTE) pathway within the healthcare field, expanding beyond the current nursing, sports medicine, and pharmacy technicians CTE pathways currently being offered.

Local high schools have CTE programs to equip students with employability skills, but there are critical misalignments in Arizona’s education-to-workforce pathways. Namely, student participation and completion of education-to-career experiences do not align with labor market demand and earning potential. Only two of the CTE programs with the highest levels of enrollment are on the Arizona Department of Education’s top 10 priority list.
“The grant awarded by The Cigna Group Foundation will allow ElevateEdAZ and its workforce initiatives to address these issues head-on and are both timely and relevant,” said Jennifer Mellor, chief innovation officer of The Greater Phoenix Chamber Foundation. “Our efforts are opening doors for Arizona’s underserved students to obtain high-wage, high-skill, and high-demand careers, providing equitable opportunities and upward economic mobility. We are grateful to have The Cigna Group Foundation’s support.”
Healthcare is one of the industries in Arizona identified as having a misalignment between the number of degree/certificate earners and the demand for qualified candidates. Arizona was already struggling with a shortage of healthcare workers, which was exacerbated by the emotional and physical toll of the COVID-19 pandemic on front-line workers. With healthcare occupations expected to grow 15% by 2029, there is an urgent need to create lasting education-to-workforce pathways in the field.

“By partnering with ElevateEdAZ to better meet the demands of the state’s labor market, we are ensuring that the next generation has the ability to excel in a fulfilling profession,” said Jeff Holt, Evernorth Care Group president and general manager, a medical practice division of The Cigna Group “Arizona students will be able to enroll in additional healthcare CTE pathways and learn the skills that will empower them to take control of their careers. We are proud to support this program that will bring job opportunities to many while also meeting the healthcare needs of our community. ”
ElevateEdAZ aims to develop and sustain robust, vertically aligned education-to-workforce learning pathways and develop a more qualified, diverse workforce through the braiding of high school education curriculum with economic and workforce priorities.
To learn more about becoming a business partner with ElevateEdAZ, visit and complete the ElevateEdAZ Businesses Partner Form. For more information on engaging your business, please contact our business partnership team at [email protected].

Jennifer Mellor, chief innovation officer for the Greater Phoenix Chamber Foundation, and Tony Finn, VP of ElevateEdAZ are available for media interviews.

About ElevateEdAZ
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 completing 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

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

Follow Online:
Twitter: @ElevateEdAZ
Instagram: @elevateedaz
Facebook: @elevateedaz
LinkedIn: ElevateEdAZ