MOHAVE COUNTY – A new report shows that Mohave Community College and Arizona’s nine other community college districts are the economic engines needed to provide fast, job-focused training for unemployed and underemployed workers in our state.
“MCC is positioned to be a key force in helping our region recover from this economy that’s been reshaped by the coronavirus pandemic,” said MCC President Dr. Stacy Klippenstein. “Working with our state and local lawmakers and policymakers, along with the business and industry leaders, and the ARIZONA@WORK system, I’m confident the future is very bright for our students and communities.”
The new report backs up Dr. Klippenstein’s view of the valuable role community colleges play when it comes to Arizona’s economic recovery. The Arizona Reskilling & Recovery Network: A Workforce Development and Education/Training Framework, was published by the National Reskilling & Recovery Network and facilitated by the National Governors Association and the American Association of Community Colleges.
The report reveals that Arizona’s community colleges have the ability to work quickly across government and industry to develop programs that upskill and reskill workers for the new economy. Upskilling teaches new competencies to help workers stay in current roles, reskilling prepares workers for new roles.
“We want to make sure workers throughout Mohave county are qualified for careers in growing businesses and industries,” said Dr. Kirk Lacy, MCC Dean of Workforce and Partnership Development. “Our college strategic plan calls for us to meet the needs of our students and communities, and that includes providing essential career training that helps people get back to work with family-sustaining jobs.”
The report is based on evidence that the post-pandemic economy is expected to require more education at all levels. As industry reacted to reduce the spread of infection, a wave of automation was instilled, and workers were replaced with technologies that could be operated by a smaller number of highly skilled workers. This pattern has manifested throughout the economy, and is expected to affect workers throughout all sectors.
The report lays out that Arizona’s community colleges already place a premium on career-focused education, and have a track record for quick innovation and meeting student and employer needs.
Early on during the pandemic, MCC and seven other Arizona community colleges joined forces to provide a Google IT Support professional certificate program that teaches troubleshooting, network protocols, cloud computing and encryption algorithms for entry-level IT support specialist jobs.
Mohave Community College currently tops the list of two year colleges in Arizona when it comes to offering degree and/or certificate programs that train workers for the highest demand occupations in the colleges’ respective districts.
“When it comes to colleges working closely with business, industry and government to help students and communities meet and prepare for current and future needs, I can proudly say MCC is among the best and we look forward to improving upon that,” said Dr. Klippenstein.
According to the report, MCC and Arizona’s other rural college districts reduce the geographic disparities for training in emerging fields. Simply put, community colleges have the infrastructure needed to provide the training Arizona needs as the state begins to emerge from the pandemic.
Another key reason the report calls upon community colleges to reskill post-pandemic workers is the value they place on partnerships with private industry for apprenticeships, internships, and tuition reimbursement.
MCC is rooted in Mohave county and can quickly adjust to the local labor market needs. Recent evidence of that is the new Electrical Technology program designed to meet local demand for professional electricians. The college is working to create an Advanced Manufacturing Training Center that will serve the entire county. State Representatives Regina Cobb and Leo Biasiucci are trying to secure state funding to help build the center, which also has unanimous approval of the county supervisors.
To support economic recovery, the report lays out a series of recommendations for policymakers. These pivotal reforms include addressing expenditure limits so colleges can more efficiently and effectively create workforce programs on pace with Arizona business demands – at no additional cost to taxpayers. It also recommends developing a state-wide Apprenticeship-AZ model that includes tax credits for participating employers. For more information on these reforms, and to view report details, visit www.arizonacommunitycolleges.org.
For those looking to get on the path to a great career, or gain skills to help in their current career, apply for free at MCC. Just head online to Apply.Mohave.Edu or call 866-MOHAVECC for assistance.
About the National Reskilling and Recovery Network
The Reskilling and Recovery Network is a partnership between the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the American Association of Community Colleges, with support from the Lumina and Siemens foundations. The purpose of the network is to involve 20 states that were selected to participate, including Arizona, to bring together state and community college leaders with workforce and industry partners to collaboratively identify and scale strategies that give workers the skills necessary to succeed in an economy reshaped by the pandemic.
About the Arizona Community College Coordinating Council
The Arizona Community College Coordinating Council (AC4) is an association of the ten accredited community college district CEOs. As primary providers of job training, workforce preparation, and university transfer education in Arizona, the districts are responsible for serving a diverse population of students throughout the state. The Council was created to provide a forum for advocacy, communication, and coordination, and to provide a unified voice for independent community college districts. The Council and its executive director also act as a single point of contact to the public, media, education community, and public policy makers.