Community colleges like CCC are poised to be nimble and quickly respond to industry needs. Here at CCC, we are dedicated to serving the local communities and our labor force by offering courses relevant to current career trends.
Here are some highlights:
The Arizona Commerce Authority announced an initiative with Amazon Web Services Inc. with a goal of training and certifying 5,000 students in Arizona for entry-level cloud computing careers in the next two years. CCC is joining that effort, and our Computer Information Systems (CIS) faculty members are preparing coursework that will help students in Coconino County work toward multiple certifications and give them opportunities at high-paying technology careers. We plan to have the first course offerings this Spring semester.
Also, CCC is preparing faculty and instruction on a Google IT Support Professional Certificate that will help the industry, which is struggling to find qualified candidates for Information Technology support. The plan is to begin offering certificate and degree options by the next academic year to prepare students for entry-level jobs in IT support. CCC has already launched a new Cybersecurity program, a rapidly growing field and a much-needed program for companies that can use well-trained IT staff to keep personal, sensitive data safe from cybercriminals.
Up north in Page, staff and faculty are working on creating a Marine Technology Maintenance program to address the needs of the community on the edge of Lake Powell. Additionally, because residents in the region have asked for them, CCC has begun offering courses in Certified Nursing Assistant and Emergency Medical Technician at CCC in Page, so students don’t have to drive long distances to attend class sessions.
The Certified Maintenance Technician program at CCC, now in its sixth year, has been so successful at training local residents to be maintenance technicians at local commercial properties that the program was expanded to the Page region as well.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has hit the pause button on our Veterinary Technician program for the time being, CCC will begin ramping that program up when it is safe to do so. Additionally, plans are in the works for Automotive Technician training available through CCC.
Speaking of responding quickly to the needs of some of our students, I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all the wonderful people and organizations devoting time and resources to attend the CCC “Students First” Celebration that happened virtually this year. The event, which was formerly known as the Annual Meeting, Alumni & Awards Breakfast, drew more than 100 viewers who donated more than $60,000 to the scholarships available through the CCC Foundation. The centerpiece of the event was the students and their inspirational stories of how the funds from the scholarships are helping them on their educational paths. Such generosity by all the donors at the event will benefit our students in so many ways to help them realize their dreams.
I know the pandemic has been very hard on all of us, and I would like to reassure all of CCC’s communities that we are taking all possible precautions to offer a safe, healthy learning environment for students so that they may continue to work toward achieving their goals through education. With our motto of “Be Stellar, Be Safe,” we work diligently to make sure people wear face coverings, maintain social distancing, and clean all high-touch areas on a regular basis. We will continue to offer the majority of our coursework online or via videoconferencing. Some of our students have told us that they do not learn well in virtual environments, so we are preparing to offer a small percentage of our courses in an in-person format, making sure to make the conditions safe for learning. If conditions in our county worsen before the start of the Spring semester, we will convert those in-person classes to a videoconference environment. We need to always put student and employee health and safety first.
In spite of the current circumstances, so many exciting opportunities are underway or in development for students to find success on their educational journey – all because CCC plans to quickly respond to meet industry needs.
Registration for the Spring semester at CCC is underway! Classes start Jan. 11, so don’t delay, and “Gear Up for Spring.”
By Colleen Smith
Colleen Smith is the president of Coconino Community College.