Pinal County Economic & Workforce Development Update

Welcome to the April 2024 Pinal County Economic & Workforce Development Update!

James Smith, Director, Economic and Workforce Development

I hope you are enjoying our beautiful weather and taking advantage of the many great outdoor activities our region has to offer.

In this issue, we discuss some of the major projects under development that will bring good-paying new jobs to our County. A strategic goal of the County remains that more of our residents can both live and work here. 

In addition, we discuss workforce efforts underway, including meetings related to Arizona@Work – Pinal County’s local plan. We invite your input as we formulate this roadmap for delivering workforce services. 

We also continue efforts to make residents of the broader region – including the Phoenix Metro – aware of the great recreation opportunities and activities happening here in Pinal County. And we discuss a partnership with ABC15’s Sonoran Living, which is an exciting part of this effort. 

As always, if our department can be of any assistance to you, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Best wishes,

James Smith

Director, Economic and Workforce Development


LG Energy Solutions Arizona – Battery Manufacturing Project Update

On April 3rd, Richard Ra, President of LG Energy Solutions Arizona, provided a construction progress update and site tour of the facility in Queen Creek. The project has been well underway since last November, with initial land preparations completed and steel beams now being placed at the site. With the construction going as planned, the manufacturing facility for cylindrical EV batteries is expected to be completed in late 2025, and the facility for LFP pouch-type ESS batteries is expected to be online the following year.

Once the construction projects are complete, both facilities are expected to start production in 2026. To secure a high-quality workforce to operate the state-of-the-art manufacturing complex, the company will also commit to hiring and fostering the development of next-generation battery professionals in the area and will create several thousand new quality jobs. “We expect the recruitment of our (launch team) members to begin late this year, and a full-scale recruitment to follow from the second half of 2025,” said Ra.


New Future48 Accelerator Coming to Pinal County

Arizona’s newest Future48 Workforce Accelerator will launch in Pinal County in support of LGES’ significant battery manufacturing investment in the region. The facility represents the construction of a new 19,850-square-foot building on Central Arizona College’s (CAC) Superstition Mountain Campus in Apache Junction. The project is being developed in partnership with Central Arizona College (CAC), LG Energy Solutions, the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA), McCarthy Building Companies, Inc., Design Systems Inc. (DSI), and Architekton Architects.

The accelerator will provide hands-on process training for LGES’ manufacturing equipment and safety processes and will incorporate virtual reality and simulation technology for personnel training. The workforce training will focus on the manufacturing process of cylindrical lithium-ion batteries used for electric vehicles and other technology applications. The project is expected to be completed in December 2024. Once operational, the accelerator will train hundreds of students at a time to support LGES’ battery manufacturing.


Economic Development Project Updates

Ascent Aviation Services broke ground on two new wide-body aircraft hangars to carry out passenger-to-freighter conversions and heavy maintenance at the County-owned Pinal Airpark, near Marana. Pinal County Chairman of the Board Mike Goodman and Vice-Chairman Jeff McClure attended the event on March 29th. Ascent’s project represents a capital investment of $55 million, and the site will support more than 300 new aviation jobs. Upon completion of this hangar development, the company will convert Boeing B777-300ER aircraft in partnership with Israel Aerospace Industries.

In early March, the Opus Group opened Building B at the Confluence Industrial Park in Casa Grande. The park, near the intersection of I-10 and I-8, offers over 325,000 square feet of space suitable for warehouse and light manufacturing uses. Having this speculative-built business park is important in order to provide space for companies looking to locate immediately.

Visit Economic Development Website


2025-2028 ARIZONA@WORK Pinal County Workforce Development Plan

ARIZONA@WORK Pinal County is funded under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) of 2014 – federal legislation outlining what is known as the public workforce system. Under WIOA, each local workforce development board (Pinal County Workforce Development Board), in partnership with the appropriate Chief Elected Official (Pinal County Board of Supervisors), must develop and submit a comprehensive 4-year local plan (and modify it after two years) to the Workforce Arizona Council for approval. The current plan expires on December 31st, 2024.

Local plans serve as the roadmap describing the policies, procedures, and local activities that ARIZONA@WORK Pinal County plans to carry out over the course of the next four years. Composition of this plan is an opportunity for all ARIZONA@WORK Pinal County partners and community stakeholders to contribute to creating the roadmap for our workforce delivery system and align with the Arizona State Workforce Development Plan, which contains the following goals:

To gather community and stakeholder input to support the 2025-2028 ARIZONA@WORK Pinal County Workforce Development Plan, a series of community events have been scheduled throughout the County. The remaining events are scheduled for Coolidge/Florence/Eloy (April 23rd), and San Tan Valley (April 26th). Previous events were held in Superior, Aravaipa, Apache Junction, Maricopa, and Casa Grande.


Pinal County Workforce Development Board Member Update

On April 3rd, the Pinal County Board of Supervisors approved the appointment of David Nieves, Senior Director, Fabric Capacity Expansion for Procter and Gamble in Coolidge.  The Board of Supervisors also approved the reappointment of Christina Rothlisberger, Human Resources Director with Sun Life Health.

David and Christina join Mike Cruz, Manager of Public Policy for Lucid Motors (appointed March 6th), and the rest of the Pinal County Workforce Development Board, chaired by Harold Christ (The Windmill Winery), in charting the future of the ARIZONA@WORK Pinal County workforce development system for the County. Mike, Harold, and Workforce Development Director Joel Millman are pictured below with the Board of Supervisors.


Arizona Office of Tourism Director Visits Pinal County

Arizona Office of Tourism Director Lisa Urias has been traveling to communities across Arizona to conduct listening sessions with residents and leaders from different sectors as part of the state’s tourism brand development process. On March 22nd, the Discovering Arizona crew included the Copper Corridor – stopping in Superior to hear perspectives on what is unique about our region and how we view the possibilities for our state’s future.

Explore Pinal County Tourism Advisory Group

As part of our Tourism strategic plan, Explore Pinal County is forming a Tourism Advisory Group. This group will shape our overall strategic planning, establish marketing strategies, branding efforts, program policies, and targets for lodging and conference facilities, and help support cross-marketing and promotion efforts between members. Representatives from key County attractions/destinations, chambers of commerce, and local governments have been invited to participate. A kickoff meeting is planned in late April.

Sonoran Living to Feature Pinal County

Explore Pinal County has signed on to sponsor a 14-segment series with ABC15’s Sonoran Living show. The series will visit and feature different communities within our County, highlighting top attractions and upcoming events in each community. The first episode of the series will air on April 29th at 9:00 a.m. on ABC15.

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