PCC wins grant to train miners

PCC is among five Arizona community colleges that will share in a four-year, $13,477,799 federal grant to train adults for jobs in the state’s energy and mining industries. Pima Community College’s share of the grant is $1,878,236.

The job training initiative is targeted to help military veterans, long-term unemployed, and trade-impacted workers. Those workers “who have lost jobs or seen wages fall because of free trade.”

PCC, which is partnering with Tucson Electric Power Co., the Pima County Workforce Investment Board and Pima County One Stop, will offer access to training programs in which students can earn credentials in Energy Industry Fundamentals in order to build the skill sets necessary to move into an energy job or other occupation requiring similar skill sets, such as technicians, line workers, plant operators, skilled craftsmen and engineers.

The grant also will build a pathway to advanced certificates and degrees in a variety of energy-related fields, including bachelor’s degrees at Arizona State University.

In addition, PCC will offer credit for participants in TEP’s apprenticeship programs.

The grant specifies that PCC provide free access to digital learning materials and keep rigorous data on whether students taking part in the program find jobs.

PCC is part of the five-school Arizona Sun Corridor-Get Into Energy Consortium (ASC-GIEC) initiative, which has received the grant through the Department of Labor’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training initiative.

Other Arizona community colleges receiving the grant are Estrella Mountain Community College, the consortium leader; Northland Pioneer College; Chandler-Gilbert Community College; and Yavapai College.

The ASC-GIEC links the community colleges with the state’s electricity providers, two large mining companies, state government agencies and the Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD) in a coordinated effort to provide training needed to fill critical positions in the energy and mining industries.

The CEWD projects that energy providers in the state will need to replace more than 50 percent of their workforce over the next decade because of retirements and other attrition.

PCC’s grant was announced on Sept. 19 by the Department of Labor as part of $500 million in job-training grants to community colleges and universities around the nation.

Just last month, the Pima County Board of Supervisors gave up trying to prevent mining jobs from being created in Southern Arizona.

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