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Arizona Western College partners to train skilled workers

Reetika Dhawan
Associate Vice President for Workforce Development and Career & Technical Education

Yuma, Arizona (July 23, 2020) - Last week, Arizona Western College, along with the nine other college districts, hosted a statewide video news conference to showcase the innovative ways that community colleges are working with their communities and business partners to train and retrain workers to help jumpstart the state’s economy during and after COVID-19.

During a second call, AWC showcased four local initiatives to offer high-demand training in collaboration with local, regional and global partners. Programs showcased included:

Stackable certificates in a new Manufacturing program, in collaboration with Southwest Technical Education District of Yuma (STEDY).

“This is effective use of the public dollar. We are much stronger when we partner. We’re sharing facilities, we’re sharing equipment, we’re sharing instructional expertise, and we’re being responsive to our local workforce,” said Dr. Corr, regarding the manufacturing program.

“This will provide high school students an entry point into the manufacturing industry. Not only to provide certification as they exit, but talent development for our industries. We are a direct link ... between those two driving forces (students and industry),” said Kevin Imes, Executive Director of STEDY.

The program will feature international training and certification through Transatlantic Business and Investment Council (TBIC), as encouraged by Greater Yuma Economic Development Corporation (GYEDC).

AWC’s Career and Technical Education division is working on TBIC Certification for Manufacturing, Electrical, Welding, Automotive, and Air Conditioning programs in collaboration with GYEDC. This certification will help students and local businesses to have

European certified programs in Yuma County. AWC will have a visit next month from TBIC rep to go over the Report with Reetika

Dhawan, Associate Vice President for Workforce Development and Career and Technical Education at AWC.

A new Apprenticeship Program for Electrical, through AWC and in collaboration with local companies such as Pilkington Construction, Ligget Electric, WestMoore and many other local companies respond to a shortfall of certified electricians in the field. The Electrician Apprenticeship program is a four-year commitment to learning the electrical trade. This is accomplished through both 576 classroom hours and 8000 on-the-job training hours while working for an Electrical contractor. This program came to fruition with the help of AZ@WORK, GYEDC, and AWC’s CTE Division along with guidance from the State of Arizona Apprenticeship Office (Arizona Department of Economic Security).

“It really benefits my industry to have educated young people coming into the workforce. I believe you’re not allowed to complain unless you participate and try to help guide and form the education,” said Clint Harrington, President of Pilkington. Harrington is not only helping to develop the program, he is sending several of his own employees, supporting them in completing this training.

The Google IT Support Certificate, an industry-driven competency training that will result in a recognized industry credential that

will support employment in Information Technology. This program is in partnership with Jobs for the Future (JFF) and a grant AWC CTE received from Coursera.

The recently-launched AWC Law Enforcement Training Academy, which recently graduated its second class, was created in partnership with the City of Yuma, Yuma Police Department, and the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office. This regional collaboration is designed to keep law enforcement trainees close to home and save agencies significant budget. More than 12 Arizona agencies have sent pre-hired trainees to complete their instruction.

“It has been a huge collaboration between many agencies. In the last 18 months we’ve had 16 different agencies come through t he police academy,” said AWC LETA Director Alfonso Zavala. “Locally we’ve been able to save them (local agencies) approximately $480,000.”

These workforce training initiatives tie directly to the AWC mission statement adopted three years ago to “Transform lives through education and partnership to create thriving communities.”

Dhawan adds, “We are preparing students for career pathways into the global marketplace by offering experiential learning, post- secondary credits, and industry certifications. Through partnerships such as those discussed here, students will gain technical and high-level academic skills, equipping them to be lifelong learners. Our vision includes the ability to adapt and upgrade individua l skills in a rapidly-changing world.”

Watch the state-wide workforce development news conference here (22 minutes) -

Watch the Arizona Western College workforce development news conference here (44 minutes) –

Press Release: 

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