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K-12 Educating the Next Generation

Education is a high priority in Southern Arizona. Complemented by a K-12 public education system of 63 districts with over 236,000 students as well as 149 charter schools and more than 117 private, self-regulating elementary and secondary schools, Southern Arizona’s well-developed education infrastructure maintains an open ear to the needs of the business community.

For 2023, charter school Basis Oro Valley and public school University High School ranked No. 21 and 25, respectively, and charter school Basis Tucson North ranked No. 53 on U.S. News and World Report’s list of the top 100 high schools in the country. Other highly-ranked schools in Arizona from U.S. News and World Report include Sonoran Science Academy and Catalina Foothills High School. In addition, Basis Tucson was lauded as a national model in education in the acclaimed documentary “Two Million Minutes: The 21st Century Solution.”

Primary, secondary, university, vocational, and continuing education institutions in Southern Arizona all contribute to the goal of providing a qualified workforce. The region’s educational system reflects the community’s diversity, offering programs at all levels that meet the needs of both student and employer.

Southern Arizona has a healthy high school graduation rate and growing college enrollment statistics. A highly educated population is an important attraction for companies that require a highly-skilled workforce. The amount of the population with bachelor’s degrees is an indicator that companies in high wage industries use to gauge the skill level of the local workforce. 62% of the population of all four counties in Southern Arizona have continued their education at the collegiate level, and 35% have an associate’s degree or higher.

To evaluate schools in Tucson and Southern Arizona, use:

Joint Technical Education District (JTED)

The Pima County JTED is a public high school district that offers premier, tuition-free Career and Technical Education programs to sophomores, juniors and seniors. They serve students from public, private, charter schools, and home-schools who have not earned a diploma or GED and are under the age of 22.  Students may attend JTED classes at one of its Central Campuses, located throughout Pima County, or at one of the satellite locations which are located at all public high schools in Pima County, Santa Cruz County, and in the Mammoth-San Manuel area of Pinal County.  Pima JTED’s innovative programs are designed to offer students the ability to earn industry-recognized licenses and credentials as well as dual college credit, to pave the way for further studies in college or immediate entry into the workforce utilizing exciting technology and equipment.

Higher Educational Institutions

The University of Arizona (UArizona), with a mission devoted to excellence in teaching, research, and public service, serves over 53,000 students. UArizona is in the nation’s top 20 public research universities with more than $824 million in total research activity. This ranking places UArizona in the top 4% of all U.S. universities, both public and private.

UArizona awarded nearly 12,000 bachelor’s and graduate degrees in 2023. The UA College of Engineering is ranked in the top 30 nationally for undergraduate engineering programs.  Arizona Center for Innovation, located at the UA Science and Technology Park, is a high-tech incubator that focuses on important developing areas including aerospace, advance composites, information technology and the life sciences. Learn more at

Source: UArizona Factbook

Recognized by U.S. News & World Report as the country’s most innovative school, Arizona State University is where Nobel laureates and Pulitzer Prize winners teach master learners. This is where nationally ranked and internationally ranked programs prepare next-generation innovators to thrive while advancing pioneering research, strategic partnerships, entrepreneurship and economic development.

ASU’s nationally ranked programs inspire the top-qualified graduates and have positioned the university as a “top-tier” recruiting and hiring institution by more than 50 of the country’s top corporations, according to professional recruiters and rankings services around the world.

ASU has had a presence in Tucson and the surrounding area for 40 years. Three areas of growing activity in the Tucson area are engineering, aerospace and defense, and biomedical—all of which are fields of great strength at ASU.

Partnerships in the Tucson area include Raytheon, which relies on ASU for the second-highest number of its engineers, the space exploration company World View and Roche Tissue Diagnostics, a company focused on tissue-based diagnostic solutions.

Learn more at

Pima Community College (PCC) serves approximately 32,000 students across the greater Tucson metropolitan area at its various locations conveniently spread throughout Pima County. The College offers university-transfer programs, as well as career and technical education/workforce training, adult basic education/high school equivalency, corporate and customized training, and continuing education courses. PCC has 700 collaborations with local industry to develop curriculum that will prepare the workforce best for the jobs employers need filled. Pima Community College was selected by Harvard University as one of five community colleges in the nation that exemplify how community colleges are helping to improve local economies. Learn more here.

Classes are offered at its campuses and multiple off-campus locations in a variety of fields, awarding certificates, associate’s degrees and dozens of industry credentials. The College meets the needs of its diverse student population by offering evening, weekend, year-round, online, and accelerated courses.

Thanks in large part to advances in technology, workforce education and training needs are changing rapidly. The College is responding by developing six Centers of Excellence (CoE) focused on Applied Technology, Information Technology, Health Professions, Public Safety & Security, the Arts, and Hospitality. The CoE’s allow for flexible, high-touch/high-tech training, and innovative learning that students need in order to be prepared to succeed in today’s ever-changing, technology-driven workplace.

Learn more at

Source: PCC Quick Facts

Connect With Us

Want to learn more? A member of Sun Corridor Inc.’s Business Development team will respond to any written inquiry within one business day.

Daniela Gallagher

Vice President, Economic Development
Email or Call 520.243.1938

Jeff Powell

Economic Development and Research Director
Email or Call 520.243.1912

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