REFERENCE TITLE: commerce authority; adult workforce education





State of Arizona

House of Representatives

Fifty-fifth Legislature

Second Regular Session





HB 2123


Introduced by

Representative Kaiser





Amending Title 41, chapter 10, Arizona Revised Statutes, by adding article 2; relating to the Arizona commerce authority.





Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Arizona:

Section 1. Title 41, chapter 10, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended by adding article 2, to read:


START_STATUTE41-1529. Definitions

In this article, unless the context otherwise requires:

1. "Academic skill intake assessment" means a criterion-referenced assessment of numeracy and literacy skill with high reliability and validity that is determined by third-party research and that may be administered in person or online.

2. "Accredited provider" means an entity that is currently accredited by one of the seven regional ACCREDITATION organizations or any successor entity.

3. "Approved program provider" means a public, nonprofit or other entity that meets the requirements of this article and that does not receive federal or state funding or private tuition for a student who is funded through the program.

4. "Average cost per graduate" means the amount that is calculated by dividing the total program funding that is reimbursed to an approved program provider for a fiscal year cohort by the total number of graduates for that fiscal year cohort.

5. "Career pathways coursework" means one or more courses that align with the skill needs of industries in the economy of this state or region and that assist an individual to enter or advance within a specific occupation or occupational cluster.

6. "Career placement services" means services that are designed to assist students in obtaining employment, including career interest self-assessments, job search skills, résumé development and mock interviews.

7. "Cohort" means the students who enter the program between July 1 and June 30 of each program year.

8. "Employability skills certification" means a certificate that is earned by demonstrating professional nontechnical skills through an assessment, portfolio or observation.

9. "Graduate" means a student who has successfully completed all state and approved program provider requirements to earn a high school diploma.

10. "Graduation rate" means the total graduates from a cohort divided by the total number of students.

11. "Graduation requirements" means course and credit requirements for the approved program provider's high school diploma.

12. "High school diploma" means a diploma that is issued by an accredited provider and that is recognized as a secondary school diploma by this state.

13. "Industry-recognized credential" means an education-related or work-related credential that verifies an individual's qualification or competence and that is issued by a third party with the relevant authority to issue the credential.

14. "Learning plan" means a documented plan that both:

(a) is designed to prepare a student to succeed in the program and the student's future endeavors.

(b) Identifies the courses and credits that are needed for a student to complete the program and that are approved program provider graduation requirements.

15. "Milestones" means objective measures of progress for which payment is made to an approved program provider under this article, including earned units of high school credit, earning an employability skills certificate, earning an industry-recognized credential and earning a high school diploma.

16. "Program" means the adult workforce diploma program.

17. "Request for qualifications" means a request for interested potential program providers to submit evidence that they meet the qualifications prescribed by section 41-1529.01.

18. "Stackable credential" means a third-party credential that is part of a sequence of credentials that can be accumulated over time to build up an individual's qualifications to advance along a career pathway.

19. "Student" means a participant in the program who is at least twenty-one years of age, who is a resident of this state and who has not earned a high school diploma.

20. "Transcript evaluation" means a documented summary of credits that were earned in previous public or private accredited high schools compared with program and approved program provider graduation requirements.

21. "Unit of high school credit" means a credit that is awarded based on a student's demonstration that the student has successfully met the content expectations for the credit area as defined by subject area standards, expectations or guidelines. END_STATUTE

START_STATUTE41-1529.01. Adult workforce diploma program; fund; appropriation; annual report

A. The adult workforce diploma program is established within the authority to assist a person who is at least twenty-one years of age in earning a high school diploma and developing critical employability and career and technical skills to prepare for employment. The program may be delivered in a campus-based, online or blended modality.

B. The adult workforce diploma program fund is established consisting of legislative appropriations, gifts, grants and other donations.  The chief executive officer shall administer the fund.  MOnies in the fund are continuously appropriated. The sum of $6,000,000 is appropriated from the state general fund each fiscal year to the fund.

C. On or before August 15 of each year, the authority shall issue a request for qualifications for eligible program providers to participate in the program. To be approved, a program provider shall meet all of the following:

1. Be operating a regionally accredited high school diploma granting entity.

2. For each student, have the ability to develop a learning plan that integrates graduation requirements and career goals.

3. Provide a course catalog that includes all courses that are necessary to meet graduation requirements.

4. Have the ability to provide all of the following:

(a) Remediation opportunities in literacy and numeracy.

(b) Employability skills certification.

(c) Career pathways coursework.

(d) Preparation for industry-recognized credentials and stackable credentials.

(e) Career placement services.

(f) academic skill intake assessments and transcript evaluations.

D. On or before October 15 of each year, the authority shall approve all qualified program providers and place those providers on an approved program providers list.  Approved program providers shall begin enrolling students on or before November 15 of each year. Approved program providers maintain approval status unless the approved program provider is removed from the approved program providers list pursuant to subsection I of this section.

E. The authority shall pay approved program providers the following amounts for each student who completes the following milestones:

1. $250 for each completed half unit of high school credit.

2. $250 for each earned employability skills certification.

3. $250 for each earned industry-recognized credential or stackable credential that requires up to fifty hours of training.

4. $500 for each earned industry-recognized credential or stackable credential that requires at least fifty hours but not more than one hundred hours of training.

5. $750 for each earned industry-recognized credential or stackable credential that requires more than one hundred hours of training.

6. $1,000 for each attained high school diploma.

f. Approved Program Providers shall submit monthly invoices to the authority not later than the tenth calendar day of each month for milestones met in the previous calendar month. The authority shall pay approved program providers in the order in which invoices are submitted until all available monies are exhausted.  The authority shall provide a written update to the approved program providers by the last calendar day of each month, including the aggregate total dollars that have been paid to approved program providers to date and the estimated number of enrollments still available for the program year.

g. On or before July 15 of each year, each approved program provider shall report the following to the authority:

1. The total number of students who were funded through the program.

2. The total number of earned credits.

3. The total number of issued employability skills certifications.

4. The total number of earned industry-recognized credentials or stackable credentials earned for each tier of funding.

5. The total number of students who graduated through the program.

h. Beginning with the end of the second fiscal year of the program, the authority shall review data from each approved program provider to ensure that each approved program provider is achieving minimum program performance standards, including:

1. A graduation rate of at least fifty percent.

2. An average cost per graduate of $7,000 or less.

i. The authority shall place an approved program provider that does not meet the minimum program performance standards prescribed in subsection h of this section on probationary status for the remainder of the fiscal year. An approved program provider that does not meet the minimum performance standards for two consecutive years shall be removed from the approved program providers list. END_STATUTE