Coconino Community College will be rolling out three new Career and Technical Education programs, and we hope to have a fourth one on the way soon. The new programs are Cyber Security, Marine Maintenance Technician and Veterinary Technician. The CCC District Governing Board approved the programs during its December meeting, and we are busy working with industry partners to develop curricula.
These programs meet long-discussed public needs in Coconino County, and even though CCC remains underfunded, thanks to one-time funding from the Arizona State Legislature, we have the resources to start these programs. CCC will continue to seek ongoing funding to sustain these programs in the future and is seeking business and industry partners to help with this.
The Cyber Security program, which is scheduled to accept its first students in Fall 2020, offers both certificate and associate degree tracks. Recent cyberattacks in our county have shown the need for trained technicians. The program is meant to prepare students for work as Cyber Security Technicians, or to continue at a university for a bachelor’s degree in Cyber Security Engineering. The field of Cyber Security, which has considerable earning potential, is rapidly growing, and technicians are in demand with Coconino County employers. The program’s curriculum is aligned with the Computing Technology Industry Association standards.
The Marine Maintenance program, which is also slated to begin Fall 2020, will be the first for the state of Arizona and is located at CCC in Page. The program offers both certificate and degree tracks. The Lake Powell area received more than four million visitors in 2018, and many of those visitors enjoyed time on the lake and Colorado River. Boat and marine-based businesses, resorts, boat rental agencies and manufacturers have all expressed an increase in need to grow their workforce. Page-based technicians and businesses have agreed to donate shop space in which to teach and will even give students opportunities for training on the job. Students enrolled in the program will be learning a host of skills including finishing work, fiberglass and upholstery, boat piloting, electronics and computer-based diagnostic testing, boat hauling and delivery, welding and new boat construction.
The Veterinary Technician program, which is the most involved of the programs and is scheduled to begin in Fall 2021, will also be located in Flagstaff. It’s the first program of its kind for the region, and will offer certification and associate degree tracks through the American Veterinary Medical Association. High Country Humane animal shelter has agreed to partner with CCC and is graciously donating space for classes. Additionally, local veterinarians have agreed to allow CCC students to receive clinical experience through their services. Finally, as a wonderful stroke of luck, a Flagstaff-based veterinarian has volunteered as program director to get the project on a firm footing.
Our leadership team here at CCC is working diligently to seek funding for and create an Automotive Technician program. In my journeys throughout Coconino County, community residents have expressed the need for a local Automotive Technician program at the college. The program at CCC would supplement training area high school students receive. The proposed program will also offer training to adult learners so they don’t have to leave the county to get the training and certifications needed to find well-paying jobs in our communities.
Although the one-time funding from the state legislature is helping to create the programs, we are looking for tuition revenue from student enrollment, grant funding and business and industry partner contributions to sustain the programs over the long term. It will definitely “take a village” to keep these programs strong and financially supported.
I encourage you to visit CCC and learn about these great new Career and Technical Education programs designed to put our people to work. All who are interested in exploring how they might want to support any of these new programs can contact CCC Provost Dr. Nate Southerland at Nate.Southerland@coconino.edu, or 928-226-4224.
CCC is a great place to be. Onward! Náás! Adelante! FBN
By Colleen Smith
Colleen Smith is the president of Coconino Community College.