I am delighted to share a few of the remarkable accomplishments Mohave Community College (MCC) made in 2023 and our anticipations for an even more eventful and innovative 2024. I will attempt to be brief as I share some of the many new and exciting developments happening at your local College, including workforce training initiatives, our positive economic impact, the creation of new academic programs, new facilities, and much more.
I want to begin by saying our communities can take pride in the significant value and benefits the College contributes to Mohave County. This year, enrollment once again experienced growth with more students earning more credits, reflecting our ongoing commitment to provide valuable educational opportunities for everyone in the MCC District. Coincidentally, according to a recent economic impact survey, every dollar invested by a student at MCC yields a substantial return of $6.10 in higher career earnings. Moreover, the College’s annual economic impact in Mohave County is estimated to be $288.1 million, highlighting its profoundly positive effect on the local economy. Notably, the activities of the College and its students support one out of every 29 jobs in the County, underscoring the institution’s vital role as a key economic driver in northwestern Arizona.
In the continually evolving higher education landscape, MCC is leading a transformative shift to meet current and future workforce demands. Among those is an expansion of the degree and certificate programs, as well as workforce training initiatives. I am pleased to announce that this past November, the MCC board approved a policy change that allows the College to offer bachelor’s degrees. Employees are working to create these wonderful degree options, among others, in fields that are in high demand. Our faculty, experts in their respective fields, ensure all of our academic programs meet university-quality standards and are approved by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The HLC ensures colleges provide high-quality higher education and students services. This past year the HLC conducted an in-depth onsite review and once again approved MCC for accreditation.
When it comes to preparing students for careers, as well as identifying and filling gaps in the local workforce, the College is on the forefront. Guided by feedback from many community and industry leaders, a proactive expansion initiative is underway within our academic divisions to provide more short-term training options. These classes lead to industry recognized credentials, including workforce training courses that do not require a student to pursue a formal college degree or certificate. These are commonly called non-credit classes, and are designed to swiftly equip students with specific skills, enabling them to seamlessly enter the workforce. The expansion also aims to offer non-credit students the option to cross-over to college credit programs where they can earn a degree or certificate to help with their career advancement.
Community partnerships are vital in the effort to successfully address workforce gaps in areas such as healthcare, manufacturing, transportation, construction trades and corporate training, just to name a few. The College is expanding and strengthening its collaborations with regional hospitals and medical centers, in addition to local businesses and agencies such as NUCOR Steel, KAMMA, Progressive Pipe and Air Control.
To further augment this endeavor, the College is poised to establish the Advanced Manufacturing Training Center (AMTC) at the Kingman Airport Industrial Park. The AMTC will serve all of Mohave County and be one of Arizona’s premiere workforce training centers. I’d like to thank Kingman City Council, County Supervisors, State Lawmakers, the Arizona Commerce Authority and Governor Hobbs for their support of this vital county-wide asset. An official groundbreaking ceremony will be announced soon, symbolizing a significant step forward in the College’s commitment to advancing workforce development and meeting the evolving demands of the regional job market.
I also want to highlight our partnership with ARIZONA@WORK. In the absence of federal and state tuition assistance for non-credit workforce students, ARIZONA@WORK stepped up to provide financial assistance so qualifying students may receive industry-approved skills training at MCC. This collaborative effort enhances accessibility to valuable opportunities, particularly for community members who want to elevate their skills in preparation for a career with a higher earning potential. I look forward to working with state legislators this year to explore options, such as a Workforce Promise Scholarship that would help cover tuition for our local citizens as we expand the College workforce training offerings in high demand and high wage occupations.
To address the growing demand for new and expanded programs and services, the College has conducted an in-depth assessment of all buildings and infrastructure on each campus. The board approved a Facilities Master Plan in October that provides long range guidance to help the College ensure the facilities are not only safe but also provide exceptional learning environments to meet the needs of current and future students, improve physical environments for our employees and provide space to meet community needs.
A pivotal aspect of our commitment to community and economic growth also involves our investment in the Small Business Development Center at MCC and the Hualapai Business Center in Peach Springs. Recognizing the pivotal role small businesses play in our regional economy, MCC contributes to our local SBDC by providing staff, services and technical expertise. I look forward to collaborating with legislators to navigate existing limitations in state funding and work toward securing state funding to match SBDC contributions, aligning with practices in every state except Arizona and Nevada.
In athletics, northwestern Arizona’s first college-level men’s and women’s soccer teams are actively recruiting and already have more than a dozen players from throughout Mohave County committed to help lead the team in its inaugural season. Support from our board members, Bullhead City leaders, the Bighorn Athletics Booster Club and the BHHS Legacy Foundation are helping ensure the successful launch of the program. The home field will be at Rotary Park in Bullhead City, where the City Parks and Recreation department and Booster Club members have been making wonderful upgrades, not only for the College soccer teams but also the community at large. I look forward to seeing everyone at the soccer matches beginning in August 2024.
I encourage everyone to stay updated on the latest developments at MCC by visiting our website, following our social media pages, and reviewing our Annual Report online at Mohave.edu/Admin. As we enter 2024, our commitment is to continue being an economic engine for Mohave County, empowering individuals and fostering community development through accessible, relevant, and impactful education.