Workforce Development Month Helping Individuals Meet Their Professional Goals

September is Workforce Development Month and following the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are more opportunities than ever to strengthen our economy and develop careers. The Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES) was there for Arizonans unable to work during the pandemic through the various unemployment programs. Now, DES is helping job seekers reenter the workforce, relaunch their careers, or start out in entirely new fields.

DES works each day to remove barriers and connect Arizonans to gainful employment by helping job seekers identify their employment interests and develop the skills they need to obtain a career in their desired field. Among our array of workforce programs are individualized services to help everyone who aspires to achieve their professional goals.

ARIZONA@WORK: The Statewide Workforce Development Network

ARIZONA@WORK is a network of public and private partnerships that provides innovative workforce solutions to employers and job seekers. Representing the State of Arizona, DES works with county and local entities to match job seekers with employers of all sizes to find the right positions to match career goals. But ARIZONA@WORK is so much more than just a link to Arizona’s largest jobs database; job seekers can also participate in workshops, build resumes, attend job fairs and meet with an employment specialist to find the right solutions (meetings can even be scheduled virtually). Not yet ready to start a new career? ARIZONA@WORK can help job seekers get there to help find training and other resources.


In addition to training opportunities, individuals can learn a new trade or industry on the job while also earning a competitive salary. When you hear the word “apprenticeships,” many people tend to think of occupations associated with traditional trades like electricians or plumbers. While these honorable lines of work will always be needed, the Arizona Apprenticeship Program has kept pace with the trends in the job market. In addition to traditional offerings, it has enhanced its program with apprenticeships in healthcare, information technology, cyber security and business services. Learn more about apprenticeships.

Vocational Rehabilitation

DES is committed to helping everyone meet their potential and overcome obstacles to obtain gainful employment. The Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Program specifically helps job seekers with disabilities prepare for, enter into, or retain employment. VR counselors help provide clients with informed choices based on the client’s specific needs. Opportunities within VR include:

  • Vocational counseling and assistance with creating job goals
  • Evaluations to determine job skills and interests
  • Assistance with training or education
  • Help with job interview skills
  • Special, or assistive, technology that is needed for a job
  • Assistance with transportation to training services, job sites and other work related needs

Learn more about VR services.

Services for Veterans

The Veterans team helps veterans transition the skills they acquired while serving in the Armed Forces into the employability competencies employers seek. Eligible veterans are entitled to receive priority services in job referrals and training by DES staff, as well as other employment-related services. Our vets committed themselves to serving our nation; now, it’s our turn to serve them. Learn more about available veteran employment services.

Reentry Services for Individuals Who Are Justice Involved

In March 2017, Governor Doug Ducey, the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation & Reentry, and DES launched the Second Chance Initiative, which seeks to provide individuals with a real second chance after incarceration. Second Chance Centers provide inmates with workforce development services to prepare them for a successful reentry into society after serving their time. In addition to the state’s three Second Chance Centers, reentry employment services are also available post-release in the NATIVE HEALTH Central office, parole offices, reentry centers, and DES and ARIZONA@WORK offices throughout the state. Learn more about reentry services.

Helping All to Achieve in the Arizona Economy

Our state boasts one of the strongest economies in the nation, and over the past few months, Arizona has rebounded from the effects of the pandemic at an unimaginable pace. In addition to the workforce services detailed above, we also have services for youth, migrant seasonal farmworkers, Nutrition and Cash Assistance recipients, older adults and more. For support and guidance in reentering the workforce or navigating within Arizona’s labor market, see our available services and resources. We look forward to further strengthening our economy together.

Michael Wisehart