Central Arizona College named Bellwether Award winner

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Central Arizona College was recently named the 2020 Workforce Development winner for the prestigious Bellwether Award at the Community College Futures Assembly held in San Antonio, Texas.

CAC competed against nine other community colleges in the workforce development category. All finalists presented at the CCFA and a panel of national experts then selected one winner.

CAC’s innovative project, Education at the Speed of Industry, is recognized for creating strategic alliances that promote community and economic development. The program details the successful partnership between Central Arizona College and Sundt Construction Inc.

In the spring of 2016, Sundt Construction approached CAC to explore apprenticeship opportunities to meet the growing needs of commercial construction.

CAC administrators worked with Sundt leadership to develop four craft trade pathways in structural welding, heavy equipment operation, pipefitting and industrial construction technology.

Sundt and CAC designed every aspect of the courses and programs jointly in less than three months. Prior to this partnership, CAC’s program was dwindling with fewer than 10 students enrolled annually. During the first year of the Sundt/CAC Workforce Development partnership, 41 students enrolled. This number grew to 104 students in 2017-18 and then increased to 196 in 2018-19. This fall, the program reported 328 students enrolled and it has become the fastest growing program at CAC.

Editor's note: Angela Askey is CAC's executive director of public relations and marketing.

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