Arizona’s community colleges play an important role in helping hundreds of thousands of Arizona students each year earn a credential or degree, transfer to a university and receive career training. Their value goes beyond this immediate impact to students, by generating increased earnings to the overall economy and providing a pipeline of qualified talent to meet workforce needs.

Email your elected leaders to let them know you support community colleges.


Stakeholders from across the state all agree that community colleges have a tremendous impact on Arizona. Read their comments below.

Charlene Fernandez “As a graduate of a community college in an area with extreme unemployment I can attest to not only the opportunities that my Associates degree afforded me but also the preparation that enabled me to graduate from a four year university.”

Representative Charlene Fernandez
Arizona House of Representatives, District 4

Gonzo “The community college system has always played an important role in offering students, especially minority students, a range of educational opportunities. I began my higher education career at a community college, eventually earning an MBA from the Thunderbird School. Today, community colleges are a vital link in the workforce pipeline that our economy needs to fulfill the demands of the globally competitive marketplace. As it was in my case, community colleges continue to be an important educational stepping stone to undergraduate and graduate programs because of the system’s affordability and proximity to Latino communities.”

Gonzalo A. de la Melena, Jr.
President/CEO, Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Jane Strain “Community colleges offer students mobility to an improved quality of life that is accessible in their own backyards. These community focused institutions bring quality faculty members, small class sizes, and affordable prices to the students in their home area. The most important word in any community college name is: Community. The governing board is locally elected, locally accountable and locally responsible to the district tax payers. I began my life-long academic career in a junior college in downtown Dallas, Texas. It was a perfect solution for me.”  

Jane Strain
Cochise Community College Governing Board Member
Pacific Regional Chair, Association of Community College Trustee Board of Directors
Arizona Community College District Governing Board Member

RBoals “Education provides the foundation for our future community and business leaders. People need options and community colleges are a gateway. I experienced this firsthand by attending Phoenix College after leaving the Air Force. Those years shaped my career in ways I never dreamed possible.”

Rich Boals
President and CEO, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona

Jim Zaharis Headshot 2013 FULL “Arizona’s community colleges are one of our most important assets and must be protected. By providing a more affordable and closer to home access for students, especially first time college goers, the number of students who can be college completers is greatly enhanced. The business community knows that a quality workforce pipeline is essential to them, Arizona’s competitiveness and economic vitality. Our community colleges are vital to the building of an educated populace.”

Jim Zaharis
Vice President for Education, Greater Phoenix Leadership

Paul Thomas “The role of community colleges has grown over the years as they have broadened their range of educational offerings that satisfy a greater and more diverse group of students. CCC2NAU is a prime example of an innovative and collaborative partnership between two educational institutions focused on meeting today’s workforce needs, while serving and supporting students’ chosen career paths.”

T. Paul Thomas
CEO, Northern Arizona Leadership Alliance

Kenny_Evans_350x400_t670[1] “Watching higher education in Arizona evolve from junior colleges to community colleges has been transformative. In a worldwide economic marketplace, lifelong learning has gone from a buzz word to a necessity. Our community colleges have been and must continue to be at the heart of that opportunity.  In my lifetime, they have provided a highway to the world and hope for a better tomorrow.”

Mayor Kenny Evans
City of Payson

Tim Carter Photo “Community colleges throughout Arizona continue to provide relevant, low cost, locally controlled, and easily accessible higher education to local residents. Their partnerships with Joint Technical Education Districts has enhanced Career and Technical Education in Arizona. Community college efforts to work closely with universities, result in increased efficiency and additional innovative practices. This synergy makes the option of completing both an Associates and Bachelor’s degree, in a wide variety of fields, close to home, a reality for many. Arizonans prosper when community colleges flourish.”

Tim Carter
Yavapai County Superintendent

Casuga1 “In rural Arizona, community colleges are often the only option to a post-secondary education that opens doors to opportunities for rural youth not otherwise available. At the same time, community colleges support the spectrum of workforce training needs of existing and potential new business and industry for new employees or retraining incumbent workers to maintain a competitive edge. Community colleges also enhance a community’s quality of life by offering unique cultural events and life-long learning opportunities for all residents.”

Evelyn Casuga
Assistant to the President-Special Projects
Central Arizona College

MayorRothschild “Community colleges provide a path to prosperity for many, offering career training as well as credits that can transfer to four-year universities. They need and deserve our support – for their contribution to our economy and our community.”

Mayor Jonathan Rothschild
City of Tucson

Marnie Uhl “A community college is vital to the health, vibrancy and economy of a city or town. They provide for that first step of a high school graduate into the real world and support the educational and social growth for that future workforce member or entrepreneur.  They work closely with other community entities and offer a connection between education and business; thus strengthening a community’s presence as a leader in developing economic and quality of life opportunities. I appreciate that I was able to pursue my career path as a graduate of a community college in California. I was a later-in-life student and had much support to accomplish my goals. Community colleges are here for everyone.”

Marnie Uhl
President & CEO, Prescott Valley Chamber of Commerce

Sharolyn “Our community colleges provide quality education for many who need an accessible affordable source for higher learning. Our community colleges now provide a road to four year degrees as well as traditional associate degrees.”

Councilmember Sharolyn Hohman
City of Goodyear

Tom Bergeron

“Foremost, we must instill the value of being a life-long learner with all of our generations of educators, administrators, business leaders, and community members. As a longtime education partner, Pima Community College has afforded our tribal members success with strategic and motivational tools they need to be their own advocates and achieve their education and career goals. Our students are more successful and utilize the community college as a career pathway onto higher education degrees. With a leadership focus on STEM career certifications offered by community colleges, opportunities for direct employment are increased with business partners.”

Marcelino C. Flores, Tribal Council Member
Administration, Pascua Yaqui Tribe

Lea Marquez Peterson “Community colleges are an important community asset to employers for workforce development. The Tucson Hispanic Chamber and our affiliate chambers in Sierra Vista, Nogales and Douglas highly value the contribution by our community colleges to the economic vitality of our region.”

Lea Márquez Peterson
Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Rodriguez_Alex.2015 “The Arizona Technology Council believes that our state community colleges are an integral part in creating a thriving economy that expands opportunity for all and raises Arizona’s dynamic workforce to world-class. Community colleges provide a direct pipeline of skilled workers to current and future businesses across the state that must continue to be supported in new and innovative ways going forward.”

Alex Rodriguez
Vice President, Southern Arizona
The Arizona Technology Council

20141008_070902 “As an industry leader, Pima Community College has greatly adapted its curriculum to benefit employers and to provide the needed support and quality training for industry groups across the board in manufacturing, health care, and other key areas.”

Don Theriault
Spokesperson, Southern Arizona Manufacturing Partners (SAMP)

Joe Snell 4x6 DSC_8374 copy “The goal of Sun Corridor Inc. is to facilitate primary job (non-retail) higher-wage job and investment growth, in order to increase wealth and accelerate economic prosperity throughout southern Arizona. This work demands a competitive, business friendly environment that allows primary employers to flourish and succeed. Our region’s ability to compete and succeed is enhanced by an educated, highly-skilled workforce. Pima Community College has been instrumental in working with companies to identify the demand and match or develop programs to respond to that need.”

Joe Snell
President & CEO, Sun Corridor Inc            

Rick Heumann “Some of the most innovative and successful people I’ve encountered and worked with started their education at a community college. These institutions provide a flexible and affordable way for youth and adults to get the skills and course work they need to transition to successful career or a four-year university. Community colleges play a vital role in the educational system and the communities we serve.”

Councilmember Rick Heumann
City of Chandler

Email your elected leaders to let them know you support community colleges.