Educating the Nogales Workforce

Educating the Nogales Workforce

September 30, 2019 0 By Ronny Jaskolski


>>NEXT, WE WANTED A CLEARER PICTURE OF THE LABOR CHALLENGES IN NOGALES, ARIZONA, A COMMUNITY THAT ALSO BOASTS ITS OWN ROBUST IMPORT AND EXPORT INDUSTRY, MOSTLY FOR PRODUCE. THE LATEST DATA PUTS UNEMPLOYMENT IN SANTA CRUZ COUNTY AT 9%. ABOUT THREE POINTS HIGHER THAN THE ARIZONA’S JOBLESS RATE. AS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE SANTA CRUZ CENTER, ZELLA SPOKE TO STELA SPOKE TO US ABOUT THE COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT AND THE APPROACH OF EDUCATING THE AREA’S WORK FORCE.>>TELL ME ABOUT YOUR STUDENT POPULATION A VERY UNIQUE SUBSET OF PEOPLE HERE, BECAUSE YOU’RE SERVING REALLY TWO COUNTRIES.>>WELL, WE ARE. WE ARE VERY FORTUNATE TO BE ABLE TO SERVE SANTA CRUZ COUNTY. ALTHOUGH IT IS THE SMALLEST COUNTY IN THE STATE, WE HAVE A UNIQUE SET OF STUDENTS. MANY OF OUR BI-NATIONAL STUDENTS ARE BY LINGUAL, THEY ARE ALSO FIRST GENERATION AND WE HAVE STUDENTS WHO SOMETIMES COME FROM ACROSS THE LINE, NOT ONLY TO WORK HERE, BUT ALSO TO ATTEND COURSES. AND SO WE HAVE A UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY FOR TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT, BECAUSE OUR STUDENTS CAN ALSO GO BACK AND FORTH FOR COURSES, PROGRAMS, NEEDS, AND SO WE TRY TO LOOK FOR THOSE, OR TO PROVIDE THOSE SERVICES.>>WHAT KINDS OF CAREERS OR WORK FORCE ARE YOU PREPARING THEM FOR HERE?>>THROUGH PIMA COMMUNITY COLLEGE, WE’RE LOOKING AT A LARGE NEW SERIES OF PROGRAMS AND COURSES. THOSE INCLUDE NURSING, THE HEALTH-RELATED FIELD, FOR THE FALL. WE’RE ALSO LOOKING AT LOGISTICS. BECAUSE WE DO A LOT WITH THE TRADE, BACK AND FORTH, ACROSS THE LINE. AND WE’RE LOOKING AT THE CBL, THE TRUCKING PROGRAM, FOR THE FUTURE, FOR STUDENT, AND FOR OUR COMMERCE ACROSS THE LINE. WE’RE ALSO LOOKING AT THE TECHNOLOGY. WE HOPE TO BE ABLE TO LOOK FOR NEW TECHNOLOGY INFRASTRUCTURE FOR STUDENTS, IN THEIR CAREERS.>>IS THE IDEA THAT IF PEOPLE ARE FROM HERE, THEY WANT TO STAY HERE, THEY COULD HAVE VERY GOOD JOBS HERE?>>THAT’S WHAT WE’RE HOPING FOR. WE’RE HOPING TO BUILD MORE ECONOMY. MORE OPPORTUNITIES. AND THEN MORE DEVELOPMENT. AND WE SEE THAT REALLY COMING FORWARD, WITH NEW OPPORTUNITIES THROUGH THE MINING, AND THEN ALSO WITH THE MEKILAS, THERE’S NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR STUDENTS TO STAY, AND BUILD THEIR CAREERS AS WELL.>>WHAT’S THE OVERALL GOAL AND MISSION OF THIS CENTER? IT SOUNDS LIKE THERE ARE A COUPLE OF DIFFERENT THINGS YOU HOPE STUDENTS TAKE WITH THEM, BUT IT IS PART OF KIND OF REINFORCING THAT LABOR FORCE IN THIS REGEN.>>WELL, THE OVERALL GOAL IS THAT STUDENTS WHO ARE BORN HERE, WHO GROW UP HERE, WHO CHOOSE TO STAY HERE, CAN IN FACT, FIND AND BUILD THEIR EDUCATIONAL CAREER HERE, IN SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, INSTEAD OF LOOKING 100 MILES IN EITHER DIRECTION, FOR THEIR FUTURE. AND THAT’S BEEN THE GOAL AND VISION OF THE GOVERNING BOARD, AND IT REALLY IS SOMETHING THAT WE HOPE THAT THEY SEE IN THEIR FUTURE. AND THEN IF THEY DECIDE TO BUILD THEIR CAREER, AND THEN MOVE INTO A FOUR-YEAR BACCALAUREATE PROGRAM, WE HAVE THE UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA AT SANTA CRUZ, WITH WONDERFUL OPPORTUNITIES FOR A BACCALAUREATE, AND EVEN INTO THEIR MASTER PROGRAM.>>ALL RIGHT. STELA, THANK YOU.>>THANK YOU.