Healthcare: High Desert Top Workforce

A regional medical hub, excellent education resources and a top-notch workforce converge where the high desert meets the tall mountains in Sierra Vista, AZ.

By the BF Staff
From the May/June 2020 Issue

Sierra Vista, a high desert community with extraordinary mountain views, is the regional medical, educational and commercial center of Southeastern Arizona, which serves more than 131,000 people. But with a population of about 45,000, the city lends a hometown feel to this busy hub. Located in the San Pedro River Valley, 75 miles southeast of Tucson, Sierra Vista is uniquely positioned for businesses in the healthcare industry that are seeking to expand, relocate or launch a new enterprise.

In 2015, privately-owned Canyon Vista Medical Center opened their new 177,000 square-foot hospital in Sierra Vista. Since then, this state-of-the-art teaching facility has continued to grow, adding to their slate of services. Recent additions include a cardiac catheterization lab, a bone and joint institute, and cancer treatment center. Canyon Vista’s progressive mission has earned the facility accreditations of excellence, including a “Gold Seal of Approval” certification from the Joint Commission as a Center of Excellence for total hip and total knee replacement.

Sierra Vista, AZ
Canyon Vista Medical Center serves Sierra Vista and the surrounding area, and has earned several accreditations for specialty services, such as knee and hip replacement. (Photo: City of Sierra Vista)

Adjacent Opportunity Zone

The Canyon Vista Medical Complex is strategically located along Highway 90 East, a major roadway between regional communities with adjacent acreage for future growth and opportunity for healthcare and medical enterprises.

Directly across the highway from Canyon Vista lies a 25-square mile Opportunity Zone parcel, inviting R&D, light industrial, office, retail, hospitality and myriad other enterprises ready to capitalize on this high-traffic, highly visible, regional location.

Sierra Vista is home to Cochise College, named the third-best community college in the nation and one of Arizona’s top nursing schools. In fact, Cochise College is recognized for offering the top Associates in Applied Science in nursing in the state. Cochise College also graduates highly trained technical candidates, including cyber security, computer programming, chemistry, engineering and math.

The University of Arizona’s School of Applied Science and Technology was established, and remains, in Sierra Vista, offering programs that lead the nation in intelligence and information operations, network operations, cyber operations and informatics among others.

Study programs at the University of Arizona and Cochise College complement other higher education opportunities, including those offered through Arizona State University’s bachelor’s programs at Cochise College, and Wayland Baptist University.

Sierra Vista is also home to the U.S. Army’s Fort Huachuca, a post serving strategic technical missions in the fields of electronics, engineering, network operations, security, technical interoperability, intelligence and cyber operations. Approximately 700 professionally trained and educated soldiers transition from Fort Huachuca to the civilian workforce annually, providing a valuable workforce.

Former military personnel bring an added value to the workplace, particularly for businesses seeking candidates for sensitive positions. Here, corporate recruiters can find applicants with clean records, high physical standards, demonstrated ability to follow instruction and ability to obtain clearances.

Technical contractors also set up shop in Sierra Vista, where highly educated, seasoned professionals provide support, testing and educational opportunities related to Fort Huachuca’s missions.

Sierra Vista’s workforce can boast an overall attainment of higher education degrees of nearly 30 percent, thanks to the city’s position as the regional medical and educational hub, and to Fort Huachuca’s technology-centric missions. An educated workforce also means workers enjoy a higher annual income while the cost of living remains one of the lowest in the state.

At 4,300 feet, Sierra Vista is located where high desert and high mountains meet, creating a climate and topography that bucks stereotypical Arizona perceptions. Sierra Vista enjoys four seasons and still averages 284 sunny days each year. With an average daytime temperature of 77 degrees, outdoor activities are a must—and the nearby Huachuca Mountains and San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area deliver, offering a canvas for hiking, bicycling and wildlife watching.

Residents and visitors alike take advantage of Sierra Vista’s mild climate, accessing the 30-plus miles of shared use paths and easy access to mountain trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding. Nearby national park land offers extraordinary recreational opportunities amid breath-taking views of the Southwest. Sierra Vista is just a short drive (head east or west) from Arizona’s two major wine-producing regions, national monuments and neighboring communities like Tombstone, Bisbee and bustling Tucson.

The city, founded in 1956, grew from the gates of Fort Huachuca. The Fort’s mission was and is national security and communications. Thousands of soldiers have made this Arizona post their home before deploying to other parts of the world. With their return, they brought back a broader understanding of, and affinity for, world cultures. That global experience is mirrored in Sierra Vista’s demographic make-up, which is more diverse than sprawling Phoenix or Los Angeles. This diversity is evident in the many international restaurants, serving authentic traditional dishes from around the globe.

More information about Sierra Vista can be found at

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