Middle Skills Internship Programs


(PHOENIX, APRIL 10th, 2018) – Science Foundation Arizona (SFAz) is pleased to announce this year’s recipients of the Development of Sustainable Middle Skills Internship Programs grants supported by the JPMorgan Chase Foundation. These include the Joint Technical Education District of Cobre Valley and three (3) Community Colleges, Estrella Mountain (EMCC), Mesa Community College (MCC) and Yavapai College (YC).  Each institution receives up to $21,000 to assist in building or expanding student internship opportunities in collaboration with local business and industry. Building strong partnerships with local business and industry is seen as a critical aspect of each program to ensure sustainability and growth beyond the grant period.

Arizona’s future is directly influenced by the next generation of technically trained employees and understanding this, SFAz created these grants with the generous support of the JPMorgan Chase Foundation. Internship programs were targeted specifically for students pursuing Associate Degrees or industry-specific certifications, often classified as the Middle Skills Sectors, in one or more of the following areas, Health Sciences, IT/Cyber Security, Advanced Manufacturing, Engineering and/or Energy/Utilities.  Each program is unique to the institutions and their local community, student, and workforce needs.  These include;

Cobre Valley Institute of Technology, (CVIT), is located in Pinal County, which is the smallest Joint Technical Education District (JTED) in the state.  (JTEDs are career and technical education focused facilities that support and/or complement the Career and Technical Education services/courses available to high school students).  Two neighboring high schools within the JTED district, Ray and, Hayden, partnered together with local integrated copper processing company ASARCO.  CVIT will use the grant funds to seed a welding technicians internship program. The internship complements what will be studied in the classroom where students prepare to take the American Welding Society certifications and/or dual enrollment credits that transition to college upon graduation, and ASARCO’s welding onboarding certification and safety tests.

Estrella Mountain Community College (EMCC), is one of the ten (10) Maricopa County Community Colleges and is the newest in the district.  Located in the west valley, it is master-planned to be a large comprehensive learning college with more than 40,000 students and is a Department of Education designated Hispanic- and minority-serving college. This grant will support the building of an internship program within the college’s new Engineering Institute. Business partners include Intel, Cities of Goodyear and Buckeye – Engineering Departments and Axus Technology, among others.

 Mesa Community College, Arizona Advanced Manufacturing Institute (AzAMI), since its inception AzAMI has focused on preparing manufacturing students for the demands of rapidly evolving and technologically diverse work environments.  In surveying over 500 industry partners with a view to identifying what new services would best assist them in building their local workforce, internships were repeatedly cited as desirable in helping to build their talent pipeline.  AzAMI will use the Middle Skills grant to attract students into manufacturing careers using a framework to institutionalize internships and create a structured, supportive student experience.  AzAMI will work with industry partners Dexcom, GM, and Hawkeye, among others.

Yavapai College, (YC), with its central campus in Prescott, will build out its advanced manufacturing internship program to students pursuing electronics, 3-D printing, welding, diesel technician, and automotive technician certifications. These certifications offer in-demand middle-skills job opportunities in Yavapai County. Industry partners include RESA Wearables, Inc., Toro Manufacturing, Bent River Machine, and Brachman’s Paint and Body. The ultimate goal of the project is to build long-term partnerships with businesses and industry partners that hire into middle-skills positions in the region.

SFAz wishes to thank the JPMorgan Chase Foundation for their ongoing support enabling these four (4) institutions join the seven (7) previous programs built over the last two years (2015-2017) impacting over 340 students, 90 of whom accepted job offers upon completing their internships. These programs built sustainability into their internship models by forging and maintaining over 100 new local business partnerships.

“These internships are preparing students for long-term success in high-demand jobs,” said Craig Zollinger, Managing Director for Chase in Arizona. “We’re extremely proud to partner with Science Foundation Arizona with the mutual goal of creating more economic opportunities through career-focused education.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE PROGRAM, CONTACT:  Dr. Mary O’Reilly,  moreilly@sfaz.org , 480-884-1786

About Science Foundation Arizona (SFAz)

Science Foundation Arizona (SFAz) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization initiated in 2006 by Greater Phoenix Leadership, Southern Arizona Leadership Council and the Flagstaff Forty, in conjunction with the executive and legislative branches of state government. SFAz serves as a catalyst for high-wage, knowledge-based job creation and economic diversity through administration and strict oversight of research, development and education grants to public education and other non-profit research-performing institutions. For more information, visit www.sfaz.org and like us on Facebook.



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