Core Values and History

Core Values and History

Core Values

Effective youth initiatives connect young people with competent, caring adults who serve as advocates on their behalf, who guide them, and who connect them to the broader institutions of society. Programs that stick tenaciously with young people through the adolescent years can increase the number of youth that successfully transition to the roles required of responsible adulthood; and, youth are best served when programs to educate and guide them are coordinated and complementary. At ACYR and in all of our programs we strive to provide an environment that promotes:

Changing the statistics

Every year, ACYR makes a difference in the lives of over 1,500 youth in Phoenix through our programs to earn educational credentials and learn skills to find employment. In 2017, ACYR accomplished the following:

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Teens and young adults received a diploma, GED, or a post-secondary credential.
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Youth received job opportunities through internships, direct hire or ACYR skill building.
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Young adults enrolled in postsecondary education to further their career goals.


Since 1976 ACYR has focused on developing our greatest natural resources…youth. Over the years we have grown and evolved into offering academic, vocational, and employment programs that help individuals discover their potential. ACYR helps build pathways to success through education, skill building and employment. Committed to developing the next generation of workers, ACYR offers an array of high quality programs and incorporates three priorities in our service delivery. First, a caring, dedicated, and knowledgeable staff. Second, a menu of options designed to ensure success – continuing education choices, work-based learning, leadership development, linkages to employers, and on-going, sustained support. Third, ACYR uses research-based youth development principles and practices to impart meaning and relevance in all programming. We operate mission driven programs and services that build pathways to success through education, skill building and employment. From 1988 through 1994, ACYR partnered with the Phoenix Union High School District on several local initiatives to address high dropout rates among the District’s students. Programs were designed to identify students who had either dropped out of school or who were at risk of dropping out, and to offer a variety of re-engagement opportunities, including supplemental academic preparation and career exploration at students home campuses and an alternative campus at the ACYR facility. In 1995 ACYR was funded by the Arizona Department of Education to provide GED preparation and basic skills upgrading to younger adult learners. Phoenix Youthbuild, a partnership between ACYR, the City of Phoenix, and Labor’s Community Service Agency to provide training and education in the construction trades also began in 1995. Rounding out a year of high growth, the Center of Excellence (CoE)  a publicly chartered secondary school specifically designed for students who have not responded positively to a traditional school structure began operations. All currently remain in operation. ACYR received recognition as a National Youth Employment Coalition PEPNet (Promising and Effective Practices Network) awardee in 1996, and again in 2000 as a partner in Phoenix YouthBuild. The Center of Excellence was accredited by the North Central Association in 1998 and renewed in 2003. In 2009 ACYR was one of only four organizations nationally accredited through a rigorous process conducted by the National Youth Employment Coalition. ACYR is fortunate to claim several key resources that provide a solid foundation for the work that we do. In 1990, we were awarded a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for the purpose of constructing a training center and administrative offices at 649 North 6th Avenue in Phoenix. Completed and dedicated in 1991, it currently houses the Adult Education program, a Phoenix Workforce Connection One-Stop Resource Room, and administrative and support staff. Subsequent CDBG funding has resulted in the construction of two additional buildings at 641 North 6th Avenue and 648 North 5th Avenue. The 641 facility is home to the Center of Excellence, while the 5th Avenue building houses the workforce development programs, a large community meeting room, and a 16-station computer lab. Another of the organization’s key resources and arguably the most critical one  is its cadre of highly qualified and dedicated staff. The ACYR team consists of fifty-five (55) experienced professionals and support staff who are committed to improving the quality of life for young people, their families, and the community.

Become An ACYR Donor

Make an Impact on the future of Phoenix's opportunity youth by becoming a donor today!

Your generous direct donations have a tremendous economic impact on our community and give valley youth the assistance they need to learn workplace skills, education, and many other opportunities. With this help they will be able to find higher-paying jobs and long-term careers, graduate from high school or earn a high school equivalency diploma. From corporate sponsorships to individual contributions to clothing donations to volunteering, you have many ways to help change lives through the dignity of work.