Entrepreneurial College


A Place of Innovation & Career-Connected Learning

What Is Changing

  • The Name – Arizona Western Entrepreneurial College (EC@AWC)
  • The branding
  • The leadership structure aligns with workforce needs in four key areas:
    • Operational, Healthcare, CTE, Small Business Development
  • Provides fewer reports to the VP to free them up to create strategic partnerships
  • Structure specifics include:
    • Executive Director & • Dean of CTE Programs
    • Executive Director & Dean of Healthcare Programs
    • Director of SBDC
    • Chief of Staff
  • How individuals think about their roles and how they work across divisions
  • Emergency Medical Services moves under Executive Director & Dean of Healthcare Programs to facilitate greater alignment with healthcare standards of care
  • Positions the Entrepreneurial College to move as fast as industry
  • The Entrepreneurial College will offer programs and certificates that meet specific industry standards; students who complete these courses and earn industry credentials will be eligible for prior learning credit if they pursue additional education at AWC
  • A new role will be created to map out industry opportunities and how that fits within each element of the Entrepreneurial College

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Why We’re Doing This

Higher Education is rapidly evolving nationwide to respond to industry and employer requests for rapid-response credentialing, training, and education. AWC seeks to align career-connected learning with the region’s rapidly evolving employment needs at the speed of industry. The new structure demands excellence just as it requires flexibility and responsivity. The goals included simplifying the reporting structure, increasing interaction across program verticals, and ensuring collaboration within the new structure.

How We Got Here

Over the past eight months, Vice President for Workforce Development & CTE, Reetika Dhawan, has hosted more than 15 roundtable sessions in collaboration with Oak Rose Group (strategic partner), both virtually and in-person, with internal and external stakeholders, including district-wide town halls, CTE team discussions, and industry leader roundtables.

The workforce community responded to a written survey informing this work around training and educational needs. Industry feedback came from organizations ranging from Gowan, Hansberger Refrigeration, City of Yuma, City of Wellton, LaPaz County Hospital, Shaw Industries, Pilkington Construction, TRAX International, Yuma Regional Medical Center, Greater Yuma Economic Development Corporation, and others.

What We Discovered

  • AWC faculty and staff are passionate about what they do
  • AWC faculty want to be aligned and ready to respond to employer needs
  • AWC team members recognized there is an agility challenge to providing rapid response to fluctuating workforce training needs
  • Community members do not want to alter AWC's standard of excellence as it becomes increasingly agile and dynamic
  • AWC faculty recognize that not every course, program, or training will endure; some will be eliminated, and new ones will be developed that better align with industry needs
  • AWC CTE programs need increased promotion; the college's desire to partner with industry also needs increased community awareness
  • A more flexible structure is needed to better accommodate adult learners with complex schedules and availability
  • Industry leaders indicated:
    • Industry is interested in collaboration and co-creation of future courses and programs

    • Entrepreneurial College could create courses that meet real-time industry needs, while creating pathways for future degrees by granting students prior learning credit

    • Hiring knowledgeable and highly-experienced instructors from industry too often means asking adjunct faculty to take a severe pay cut to work at AWC. The Entrepreneurial College plans to address this issue.

    • Prospective hires need technical or community college training, experience within specific industries, and demonstration of skills to do the job. Entrepreneurial College will prepare prospective employees to meet industry needs.

    • Entrepreneurial College will prepare prospective employees to meet industry needs. They are looking for individuals who have received a post-secondary certificate, associate degree, or credential from industry or a professional association.

    • Many employers provide tuition support for post-secondary coursework; Many also provide on-the-job training.

    • Most are interested in partnering with a post-secondary institution (e.g., AWC) to further their employees' education and training

What Happens Now

Transition to the new structure will take effect immediately and the Arizona Western Entreprenurial College will begin to better serve students, be a more valuable resource to local employers, and serve as a national model for workforce innovation and integration in higher education.


Reetika Dhawan

Reetika Dhawan

Chief Executive Officer, Entrepreneurial College & Vice President of Workforce and Healthcare Programs
Reetika Dhawan
Phone (direct line): (928) 344-7769
Phone: (928) 344-7567
Monday - Thursday: 7:00am - 5:00pm