Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Employer-sponsored Educational Opportunities

Some companies offer perks like free coffee, Ping-Pong tables in break rooms, and off-site team building activities (read: laser tag)! But several Valley employers are giving their employees something even more valuable: access to a college education.

Rio Salado College has educational partnerships with dozens of local companies. Through the partnerships, employees can receive credit for on-the-job training, and take any remaining credits needed to complete an associate degree from Rio Salado.

These employer-sponsored educational partnerships are mutually beneficial because employees further their education, leading to career advancement, while employers gain a more skilled workforce.



“I knew I was earning credits while attending the deputy academy, but it didn’t click at the time that I could do something with them,” said Guillermo Garcia, a detective with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.

Garcia earned an associate degree in law enforcement technology from Rio Salado in May. He credits the training he received on the job along with the opportunity to earn college credits with helping him reach this milestone.

“After an evaluation by Rio Salado’s academic advisement department, I learned I only needed three classes to achieve my degree,” Garcia said. “I really didn't want to go back to school. Once I started, I realized getting a college education wasn't difficult. Plus it was a good influence on my children to see me graduate.”

Garcia plans on continuing his education.

“I want to become a lawyer after I retire, so I am working on a bachelor’s degree in public administration through Rio Salado’s partnership with Northern Arizona University,” Garcia said. “This program is great because I can take classes at the community college rate and transfer those credits to NAU.”

APS employee Richard Martinez is another student who also gained a college degree with the help of his employer.

“I decided to earn a college degree to empower myself and to equip myself with the tools needed to be able to function in today’s society,” Martinez said.

Thanks to the educational partnership between APS and Rio Salado College, Martinez is on his way.

“It was very beneficial for me to receive college credits for successfully completing my employer's training,” Martinez said. “This was the jump-start I needed. Without this program, it would have taken me longer to complete my degree.”

Martinez found the entire experience seamless, noting the convenience and cost savings. However, he also had to learn how to budget his time.

“My greatest challenge while taking classes was juggling work and school,” Martinez said. “It is very challenging to do both. It definitely takes a great deal of discipline and dedication to be able to focus on school and accomplish your goals.”

The education bug has bitten Martinez, too.

“I sincerely believe that I am a lifelong learner,” he said. “I really love to learn. Therefore my long-range career and educational goals include learning as much as possible about things that interest me as well as things that do not. I eventually would like to receive a master’s degree in business.”

If your company would like to explore educational partnerships with Rio Salado College, please call 480-517-8512.

This story can also be found in the July 19 edition of the Tempe Republic. By Mira Radovich, Communications Coordinator at Rio Salado College. 


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