Skilled and Talented Workforce

Leveraging partnerships to create an enriching environment where the job skills required to succeed in today's economy are made readily available and easily accessible

Workforce availability and quality labor are always the number one issue for companies looking to expand or locate in Mesa. Residents also desire accessibility to quality jobs in the community in which they live. The City of Mesa prioritizes partnership programs and services that promote a skilled and talented workforce. As the 35th largest city in the country we have a robust K-12 education system along with several post secondary institutions and technical training programs that provide learning opportunities for the jobs of the future. 

Regional Educational Attainment & Labor Outlook

According to the Center for Education and the Workforce, Georgetown University, more workers need more education. Of the 13 million jobs created since the Great Recession, 12 million required a bachelor’s degree or higher. And that imbalance is likely to continue: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 69% of all jobs created from 2016 to 2026 will require post-secondary education; about 40% will require a B.A. at minimum. Fewer than 12% will require only a high school diploma or less.
Arizona offers a skilled, diverse workforce that is continuously fueled by globally recognized universities and community colleges. These institutions prepare highly qualified graduates for in-demand disciplines within established and emerging industries.
Enrollment growth is at an all-time high at Arizona’s public universities.  According to the 2018 Fall Enrollment Report, total enrollment is at 186,398, a 4.4% increase over fall 2017. However, while the total number of students enrolling in Arizona’s public universities continues to increase, the overall rate of enrollment growth is slowing, declining by a third since 2015, partially due to a strong economy. Undergraduate enrollment increased by 4.3% year-over-year and has culminated in a 30.1% increase over the past five years.
Greater Phoenix has an extremely competitive workforce in regard to training, quality and availability of workers while maintaining one of the lowest costs for labor in the nation. 70% of all Arizona State University graduates remain in-state following graduation. Examining engineering specifically, ASU has 24 undergraduate programs and a total of 20,363 students.

Educational Attainment - Mesa

Educational attainment refers to the highest degree of education an individual has completed as defined by the US Census Bureau. 
In 2016, Achieve 60 AZ was announced with the goal to increase secondary education for all Arizona residents from the current 42% to 60% by 2030, marking a state-wide focus on education. It is important for the City to continue to push for educational attainment success. 
In addition, Mesa has an education partnership between the City of Mesa, Mesa Community College, and Mesa Public Schools called Mesa Counts on College, with a mission to increase college and career readiness and completion in Mesa. Mesa Counts on College provides services that educates the community on the process for which students can both achieve and obtain post-secondary success.
Quality higher education is important to the City of Mesa. Increasing educational opportunities and attainment for young adults and adults returning to college is a top priority for the City of Mesa. To achieve this goal, City leadership is committed to expanding higher education institutions and developing quality projects that create high-wage jobs.
  • Mesa is home to more than 10 colleges and universities and nearly 40,000 students are enrolled in higher education in Mesa. 
  • Mesa Community College, part of Maricopa County Community College District, is one of six community colleges nationally to be chosen by Apple to deliver its app development curriculum.
  • Mesa is home to ASU’s Polytechnic campus located adjacent to Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. ASU Poly has more than 5,200 full and part-time students and offers 92 undergraduate and 28 graduate degree programs. Additionally, ASU will bring 750 students and 40 faculty to Downtown Mesa along with ASU Innovation Studios and digital arts programming in 2021.  
  • East Valley Institute of Technology (EVIT), with two campuses in Mesa, is considered a model for career and technical education by the U.S. Department of Education. EVIT provides high school and adult students with hands-on, advanced skills training in almost 50 occupation-specific programs from 3D animation and aviation to web design and welding.
  • Enrollment in the Benedictine University has grown to more than 550 full-time students.

Award-Winning K-12

The City of Mesa is home to many of the best primary education schools in the state. There are 23 "A" ranked schools in Mesa by the Arizona Department of Education out of 44 Arizona Schools.
Mesa is served by four school districts and the East Valley Institute of Technology (EVIT). Mesa Public Schools serves the largest portion of the City. Gilbert Public Schools, the Higley Unifiesd School District, and the Queen Creek Unified School District each serve a portions of southeast Mesa.
In post-secondary education, the City of Mesa continues to strengthen our future workforce with over 100 needed GED’s obtained by residents in the past year, as well as a significant increase in our Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completion rates among high school students. In partnership with Mesa Public Schools, their FAFSA completion increased over the 2018-2019 school year to 45% district wide.

The below map shows the percent of population age 25 and older with a Bachelors Degree or higher by census tract within Mesa. Higher percentages of higher educated residents are located within southwest Mesa, around the Falcon Field area and centered in the rapidly developing Gateway Area in southeast Mesa. Please note the areas that are not shaded are unincorporated urban land governed by Maricopa County.

Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)

Demand for STEM skills is anticipated to increase in the short and medium term. STEM skills are defined as those skills “expected to be held by people with a tertiary-education level degree in the subjects of science, technology, engineering and math” (STEM).  
Below is a breakdown of the percent of Bachelor's Degrees awarded to Mesa residents. STEM concentration areas include Science and Engineering; Engineering; Biology, Agriculture, and Environmental Science; Computers, Math and Statistics; Physical and Related Science
2010 v. 2019 Breakdown of Bachelor's Degrees of Mesa Residents
The following charts compare the field of first major reported for Mesa population 25 years and over.