by Angela Askey, Executive Director Public Relations and Marketing
Central Arizona College is providing innovative training and opportunities for companies to upskill their employees to ensure that Pinal County has a strong workforce.
In 2019, CAC, in partnership with Pima Community College and the Maricopa Community College District, received the Industry Recognized Apprenticeship Model in Manufacturing Department of Labor grant to help Arizona’s manufacturers expand and strengthen their workforce.
The grant focuses on a Learn & Earn model in which apprentices receive classroom training at CAC while shadowing an experienced journeyperson during work hours. Apprenticeships provide cutting-edge training and give employers the ability to develop their own talent while reducing turnover.
In addition, CAC works collaboratively with Resolution Copper and Abbott Nutrition to develop apprenticeship pathways tailored to meet their specific workforce needs. To ensure they have fully-trained, multicraft professionals, Abbott Nutrition provides their employees with an opportunity to attend the fully Automated Industrial Technology apprenticeship program and plans to hire several CAC students who have completed the one-credit online Manufacturing Pre-apprenticeship course.
The partnership with Resolution Copper is providing local workforce development opportunities while allowing the company’s employees to develop the skills required to safely operate and maintain the assets on site, including the recently completed Shaft 9 project. The apprenticeship program students continued their employment following graduation from the program in December 2020. They work safely in highly sought-after technical roles, applying their excellent skills and qualifications.
Just this past year, CAC and Wilson Electric, a major employer in Arizona, developed a program at the college’s Superstition Mountain Campus in Apache Junction. Students begin their studies at CAC in a 16-week, fast-track, pre-apprentice program where in which they earn industry recognized credentials and a college certificate. Upon successful completion of the program, students hired by Wilson Electric begin employment and continue to work toward their journeyperson status.
To date, Wilson has hired 80% of the CAC graduates from this program.