Column | New academic year at MCC brings excitement, opportunity for students, community
Mohave Community College is looking forward to a new academic year with great anticipation, made even more exciting as we continue to celebrate the 50th anniversary of this college. We look forward to continuing the long-standing tradition of providing access to an excellent education while meeting the needs of all the communities we serve.
With more than 4,000 students attending classes on our four campuses and online, our goal is to help each student reach their full potential, as we have since 1971. Our mission states we are a college that “serves our communities, empowering students to succeed through innovative pathways and quality education.” It all starts with serving our students, and extends to serving our communities.
I am pleased to say, for the first time since the pandemic started, all of our students will have the option to attend classes on campus this fall. We are, and have been, following CDC guidelines, which currently means we are strongly encouraging that all individuals coming to campus wear a face covering and social distance. We are also strongly encouraging everyone to get vaccinated, especially now that cases of the new delta variant are spiking here locally and across the country.
Our students will also have the option to take classes online, and the college will continue utilizing the remote learning classroom option. A virtual learning environment became the staple in higher education during the pandemic, and many students told us they enjoy the flexibility and the interaction with their instructors and classmates.
Since 1971, more than 61,000 people have graduated from Mohave Community College and many stayed in Mohave County as skilled workers in various industries that include health care, skilled vocational, education, information technology and business. Students who graduate from MCC typically enter the workforce and earn between $42,640 and $65,000 per year, compared to those with only a high school diploma who earn $24,500. Over the course of their lives a person with a degree or certificate from Mohave Community College will earn approximately $725,600 more than those who only have a high school diploma. Therefore, MCC alumni generate approximately $191 million annually in Mohave County, which helps fuel the engine of our regional economy and reduce the social service burden on local taxpayers.
I want to thank our local partners in business, industry, health care and government who are working with us to implement our strategic plan and help the college continue to function as an efficient and effective economic engine providing strong workforce training for our region. Our new dean of Workforce Development and Regional Partnerships is working with all the stakeholders on regional and statewide workforce initiatives. This work will continue in all areas, including our health-related programs as our new dean of Health Professions becomes acclimated with the health-care workforce needs of Mohave County.
Our state and local lawmakers continue to recognize the important role community colleges have in Arizona’s future success, and they have answered the call to help us assist our communities. State Reps. Regina Cobb (R-Kingman) and Leo Biasiucci (R-Lake Havasu City), and State Sen. Sonny Borrelli (R-Lake Havasu City), have been instrumental in that effort and deserve all of our thanks. As a result of their hard work, Mohave Community College will receive the state funding needed to create an Advanced Manufacturing Training Center. It will help create highly skilled employees to meet future workforce needs, benefit our industry partners throughout the region, and help boost the regional economy. The center has broad support from county, city and industry leaders who share the vision of a bright economic future for residents throughout northwestern Arizona. If all goes as planned the Center will be built at the Kingman Airport Industrial Park by late 2023.
I look forward to strengthening our partnership with our K-12 education colleagues, including JTED/WAVE. Together, we will continue to provide excellent dual enrollment classes that allow high school students to earn college credits with zero financial cost to their families. The college is also enhancing pathways for students to attain an associate degree and easily transfer to one of our more than 20 university partners to earn a bachelor’s degree. By starting first at MCC, the bachelor’s degree pathway can save students up to $30,000 on tuition, room and board depending on the university they choose to attend.
We will continue to wisely invest resources to help provide students with the best college educational services in the country. You have seen this in action with the addition of a new Welding Skills Center in Bullhead City, high-tech nursing and dental labs, and an advanced operating training center for surgical technology students. These investments will see returns in many forms, including a highly educated and skilled workforce. We will continue to develop and strengthen our relationships with local and regional workforce and economic development leaders to ensure we meet our overall mission and vision of the college. Thanks for the 50 years of support, and I encourage you to visit our website at www.Mohave.edu, where you can find great information about the college services, and budget information. I also encourage you to read MCC’s 2020-21 annual report at www.Mohave.edu/Administration. Go Bighorns!