HLC Self Study
Chapter 8 Graphic

Workforce Development

Achieving success in today’s highly competitive business environment requires the continual refinement of workforce training and skills. With educational delivery methods that are convenient and flexible, workforce development at Estrella Mountain Community College offers a wide-array of courses and programs that offer solutions to individual and business needs. The College partners with business and industry to provide students with state-of-the-art facilities and equipment and on-site training that fulfills industry requirements. Examples of workforce development at Estrella Mountain include the following.

Nuclear Uniform Curriculum Program – Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station

The nuclear industry faces a challenge of meeting future workforce demands. Industry investments have centered on the development of the Nuclear Uniform Curriculum Program (NUCP) to define skill and knowledge content for Nuclear Technicians, with the goal of developing a national nuclear industry-wide strategy of certifying graduates and ensuring transferability between companies. Located just 45 miles west of the College, the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station (PVNGS) is the largest of the nation’s 104 nuclear reactors and maintains a workforce of approximately 2,500. PVNGS workforce planners indicate that they will replace between 125 to 150 percent of their employees over the next 10 years.  Estrella Mountain is one of 33 community colleges nationwide to participate in the NUCP.

Education: Speech Language Pathology Assistant and the Gifted Education Endorsement

Estrella Mountain Community College has developed two unique and distinctive programs to address specific workforce needs within local school districts. The Speech Language Pathology Assistant (SPLA) program provides state licensed SLPA’s who work under the direction of a Speech Language Pathologist. Estrella Mountain’s SLPA program is the only one of its kind in the State of Arizona.

The Gifted Education Endorsement was created at the request of the Arizona Department of Education to address a shortage of certified teachers who work with gifted students in the State’s elementary and high schools. Currently undergoing the development and approval process, the Gifted Education program will be offered online and is is the only one of its kind in the State of Arizona.

Red Hat Academy

The adoption of Linux as an Enterprise level operating system alternative is advancing two to three times faster than other platforms, and companies need qualified professionals to manage their information technology environments. Due primarily to its leadership in information technology curriculum development, as well as the expertise within its faculty ranks, Estrella Mountain was invited to participate in the 2004 Red Hat Academy (RHA) program. RHA is an affordable, open-source education solution that offers students the opportunity to participate in a comprehensive, hands-on Linux program where students learn tasks such as hardware and device configuration, file system management and user administration. As a RHA location, the College serves as a site where students can sit for certification exams for Red Hat Certified Technician (RHCT) or Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE).

Estrella Mountain is one of just 44 Red Hat Academies worldwide and offers both certificates and degrees in Linux Networking Professional and Linux Networking Administration. From 2004-2005 to 2008-2009, 178 students completed one or more Linux-related degrees or certificates. Of the 178 completers, over 40 have achieved RHCT and/or RHCE professional certification.