Pima County has obtained a $5.4 million federal grant to support a regional effort that will prepare and train 940 young people for critical jobs in local technology industries.
The Youth CareerConnect grant is one of 24 totaling $107 million that were awarded across the country by the Department of Labor. It is the only grant awarded in Arizona.
The effort is patterned after a successful partnership that Pima County One-Stop Career Center
spearheaded with local manufacturers, Pima Community College and local high schools to equip young people with the precision machining skills needed by local aerospace and defense-related companies.
“The companies who formed the Southern Arizona Manufacturing Partners knew we were going to have a shortage of skilled machinists,” said Don Theriault, president of Industrial Tool, Die and Engineering. “We were able to work with Pima County to better coordinate high school and community college programs, and create internships and mentoring opportunities that lead to certificates and jobs. It’s a team effort that gets young people on track, fills employer needs and benefits the local economy.”
One-Stop has long worked with Workforce Investment Boards, high school and higher education institutions, and employers in Pima, Yuma, Santa Cruz and Cochise counties to improve Southern Arizona’s border economy through the Innovation Frontier Arizona collaboration. It will lead those partners in this effort to create four-year career pathways in biotechnology and applied information, industrial and aviation technology for young people in Tucson, Sierra Vista, Nogales, Rio Rico and Yuma over a 54-month period.
As a result of this grant, employers in the identified fields who share a common skill shortage will be able to work with workforce staff and K-12 and community college educators to align classes and curricula to meet workforce needs.
High school students will enroll in small, career-focused learning communities in their junior year, and finish at least two years of college, according to the successful grant proposal. All enrolled students will complete a sequence of industry-relevant courses that prepare them for employment or post-secondary education.
Students will further develop their readiness through paid internships and mentoring from industry professionals, and will earn industry-recognized certificates and diplomas in high-demand pathway careers including machining, industrial equipment maintenance, medical coding, health IT, biotechnology, aviation technology and cyber-security.
For more information about the grant and to find out if your company can benefit, please contact Jim Mize, head of the One-Stop Business Services team, at (520) 243-6703 or by email