By Sarah Lapidus, azcentral.
Gov. Katie Hobbs announced $1.7 million in state funding was invested in Pima Community College’s workforce development in science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs.
Part of that funding helped build the Automotive Technology and Innovation Center, a new facility that trains future automotive technicians located at the college’s downtown campus in Tucson. This year’s state budget also appropriated $2 million for the college’s operations.
Before Hobbs’ tour of the automotive facility, she spoke about Arizona’s place as the “epicenter” of emerging technologies like semiconductors, electric vehicles and aerospace, among others, and the role community colleges play in training a workforce for these jobs.
“To keep the pace, the state will need to have opportunities for postsecondary education and training that prepares Arizonans for these jobs,” Hobbs said, standing in the automotive training center, amid rows of trucks and cars, with hoods open revealing their engines.
She said this was the first time the college received state funding since 2015.
The Automotive Technology and Innovation Center is a two-story, 50,000-square-foot building that opened in 2021. It houses automotive technology programs in diesel, electric and autonomous vehicles and training for brands like Ford, Fiat-Chrysler and Subaru.
The $35 million Advanced Manufacturing facility is 100,000 square feet and houses programs in mining technology, manufacturing, metalworking, robotics, machine technology and more.
Hobbs said these training programs help meet industry demands and will help attract more companies to Arizona.
“If we have the workforce, we will continue to attract the companies,” she said.
Hobbs reiterated the importance of community colleges to Arizona’s education system and economy, noting how funding for Pima College ensures that state funding helps all corners of Arizona, not only in the capital.
“Investing those dollars here to invest in the workforce will help bring those opportunities here to Pima County and Tucson,” Hobbs said.
Programs like these at Pima Community College and other community colleges allow more people to access education and find better paying jobs, helping grow the state’s economy, she said.
“We’re committed to continuing to invest in our community colleges, which are a critical piece of Arizonans being able to access better jobs, better pay, better quality of life,” she said.