Showing posts with label LifeAtRio. Show all posts
Showing posts with label LifeAtRio. Show all posts

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. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Rio Library Database: Ethnic NewsWatch

Ethnic NewsWatch is a current resource of full-text newspapers, magazines, and journals of the ethnic and minority press, providing researchers access to essential, often overlooked perspectives. Check it out!

News courtesy of the Rio Salado Library.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Student-loan Debt-settlement Scams

Reporter Adriene Hill of the public radio show Marketplace ran a story this month about unscrupulous companies that are tricking borrowers into paying upfront fees for student-loan debt-settlement services they don't provide, including a fake “Obama Forgiveness Program.”

Hill discovered that some of these companies are charging upwards of $1600 for debt consolidation services that are available free of charge from the government.

Take the time to listen to Payback time for student-loan scams? and take advantage of related tips and resources listed on the host web page. It will be a wise investment of your time.

Marketplace can be heard on 91.5 KJZZ, a community service of Rio Salado College.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Part-time Positions Available at Rio Salado

Join our winning team! There are several job opportunities with Rio Salado College, including Federal Work Study positions. Please visit for more details.

For full-time and other employment opportunities with Rio Salado College and all Maricopa Community College District locations, please visit: 

The Maricopa County Community College District is an EEO/AA institution and an equal opportunity employer of protected veterans and individuals with disabilities.

KJZZ GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Forum

Get to know the candidates.
Get to know the 2014 Republican gubernatorial candidates with KJZZ's Steve Goldstein and Mark Brodie July 22 at the Arizona Historical Society in Tempe. Gain an understanding of the candidates' positions prior to casting your vote in the August 26 primary. The 90 minute discussion will focus on a variety of issues and listener submitted questions moderated by KJZZ's Sarah Ventre. 

Can't be there in person?
A live audio stream of the forum will be available at A portion of the event will be presented on the July 23 edition of KJZZ's Here and Now.

Submit your question.
To submit a question, please send an email to by 5 p.m. on July 21. Questions can also be submitted in-person at the event.

Republican Gubernatorial Primary Forum
July 22, 2014, 6 p.m.
1300 N College Ave
Tempe, AZ 85281

Seating is limited. Please RSVP to  

Contributed by 91.5 KJZZ, a community service of Rio Salado College.

Block Calendar 101

This video will give you a brief on how the Rio Salado Block Calendar System works. Please note, all of your classes must fit within your semester block's start and end date. Classes that are out of block are automatically dropped.

For more details visit or contact the Rio Salado Advisement team at

Monday, July 14, 2014

Get Prior Learning Credit with CLEP Exam

As an online college, Rio Salado doesn’t get the kind of foot traffic you see on most campuses so our curiosity was piqued a few weeks ago when a small school bus pulled up to the Tempe headquarters and dropped off nearly 20 Franklin Police and Fire High School students dressed in matching t-shirts.

Accompanying the students was Steve Clendenen, Franklin’s Spanish teacher and world languages instructional leader, who provided some insight about their visit.

The students came to Rio Salado to take their College-Level Examination Program® (CLEP®) Spanish exam—one of 33 CLEP tests offered at the college. These exams assess subject matter proficiency and provide an opportunity for students to receive college credit with qualifying scores. Spanish CLEP test takers can earn up to 16 college credits.

“The majority of the students receive the maximum credits,” said Clendenen. “That’s due to the preparation and the hard work that we put in throughout the year to prepare for the test-- the listening dialogues, the reading comprehension activities. This is proof that they are bilingual, they’re bi-literate and they can handle college coursework.”

As the name suggests, Franklin Police and Fire High School, which is part of the Phoenix Union High School District, specializes in preparing students for careers in Law Enforcement, Firefighting and Emergency Medical Services. It is the first in the nation to offer a police and fire program within a four-year comprehensive high school program. All students are required to complete two years of Spanish, including communication skills that bilingual EMT and police officers often use in the field.

While many of the Franklin students grew up in Spanish-speaking households, most were unfamiliar with the Castilian dialect they had to learn in class for the CLEP exam.

“From day one I tell them that they will learn the universally accepted Spanish language, which is Castilian, so there is a transition period, especially when they’re freshman,” said Clendenen.

Clenenden, who has been with Franklin for six years, arranged for 41 students to take the exam over the course of two days. He also helped the students organize fundraisers to help pay for the test. The students raised nearly $4,200 by hosting movie nights, car washes and selling refreshments.

“I’m just very happy that every student was fully funded to take the test this year and the results speak for themselves,” said Clendenen.

CLEP exams are one of several ways individuals can earn college credit for prior learning. Qualified candidates are also eligible to seek departmental credit by examination or evaluation.

There are also a variety of other exams administered by Rio Salado testing centers across the Valley, including the GED® test and discounted CompTIA certification exams.

For more details about credit for prior learning and testing services, visit or call 480-517-8560.

This story can also be found in the July 12 edition of the Tempe Republic. By Annette Flores, manager of Rio Salado College media relations.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

July is Park and Recreation Month

Since 1985, America has celebrated July as the nation’s official Park and Recreation Month.

Check out the wide selection of eBooks on this topic available via the library’s EBSCO eBook collection.

News courtesy of the Rio Salado Library.

Rio Salado Bookstore Sale July 6-20

Take advantage of special discounts on textbooks, apparel, supplies, accessories and more at the Rio Salado College Bookstore in Tempe. Sale ends July 20. Visit for hours of service

Tuesday, July 8, 2014 Update

The Maricopa Community Colleges District ITS team has successfully implemented upgrades to, which will help ensure efficient maintenance of content and streamline navigation for students.

As you will see, articles on the site are now categorized into easy to understand topics and links to college websites are available in relevant articles for a clear connection. There's also a simplified checklist for new students.

We hope you will test-drive the new features and provide your feedback and insights by using the Report a Problem link located in the footer of the site pages. The District ITS team will be working on a regular review cycle to update and maintain content to ensure that it is accurate and useful to students.

If you have any problems using, you can reach technical support by calling 1-888-994-4433 or using the Online Student Center and Canvas Online Support Chat, both of which are available 24/7.  Here's a YouTube tutorial with basic information on how best to resolve most technical issues:

Monday, July 7, 2014

QC Town Council Candidate Forum July 30

Meet the candidates running to fill three spots on the Queen Creek Town Council on Wednesday, July 30 at 6:30 p.m. 

The eight candidates are: Lanny Brown, Del Caron, Larry Chesley, Jason Gad, Dawn Oliphant, Kyle Robinson, Emilena Turley and Julia Wheatley.  QC Mayor Gail Barney is running unopposed.

Rio Salado College and the Communiversity at QC are proud to host this candidate forum presented by the Queen Creek/San Tan Valley Independent.

This event is free and open to the public.

For more information, and to suggest questions for the candidates, e-mail

Rio Salado VP Reflects on Life as Educator

Kishia Brock, Rio Salado College vice president of student affairs looks back on her life as an educator in this azcentral feature:

Photo: Wade Moran/Special for The Republic

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Historic July 4th with Frederick Douglass

Check out this poignant Fourth of July address given by Frederick Douglass, the African American abolitionist, whose words stirred tremendous debate and struck a chord with those who held that the U.S. Declaration of Independence’s promise of liberty and equality had been denied to slaves in the United States.

Frederick Douglass: Fourth of July Speech (1852)

This speech is one of many historical treasures you can find in the Daily Life through History archives.

News courtesy of the Rio Salado Library.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Congratulations to the 2014 AACE Class

We are pleased to share this Facebook album from Rio Salado’s Adults Achieving a College Education (AACE) Completion Ceremony on June 23 at the Rio Salado Conference Center.

This most recent AACE cohort included 47 completers, 37 of whom attended the ceremony with family and friends.

Eleven students also received a certificate for leadership, induction into the National Adult Education Honor Society, participation in the statewide I'm in Love with Learning contest and/or selection and training as a student ambassador.

Seventeen of the students were specially honored for achieving an Adult ACE GPA of 3.8 and above.

The AACE program offers a unique opportunity for students who want to start college level classes while simultaneously enrolled in Rio Salado College’s High School Equivalency prep program, which provides in-person and online classes and other services for students preparing for the GED® test.

The primary objective of AACE is to help students become more confident, improve their college and workplace skills, and lay the foundation for a better future.

Classes start each August and January.

For more details, call 480-517-8825, email or visit

Monday, June 30, 2014

Happy Birthday America!

Rio Salado and the Maricopa Community Colleges will be closed July 3-4 in observance of Independence Day.

Rio Salado Top Company to Work for in AZ

Interim Dean of Enrollment Mgmt & Student Affairs
Kevin Bilder accepts award on behalf of Rio Salado.
Rio Salado College earned a spot in the 2014 CareerBuilder Top Companies to Work for in Arizona list. Employers were evaluated and selected based on a combination of overall satisfaction scores from an employee engagement survey and evaluation from an employer questionnaire covering topics related to HR programs, benefits and workplace culture.

Rio Salado is proud to be recognized as one of Arizona’s “Top Companies to Work for” and we encourage employment seekers to consider a career on our winning team. For details about current job opportunities with our organization, visit:

CareerBuilder and Republic Media made the announcement during a breakfast reception on Friday, June 27 at the Hyatt Regency Phoenix.

A complete list of the 75 Top Companies and related stories can be found at

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Found in Translation: Rio Salado ELAA

Rio Salado Southern ELAA students with instructor Ingrid Ellis.
Imagine yourself in a foreign country. You don’t speak the language. You’re not altogether familiar with the customs or laws. You’re dependent on family for just about everything-- and you have no friends.

There’s a group of students taking English Language Acquisition for Adults (ELAA) classes at Rio Salado College who can tell you a thing or two about what that kind of life is like.

The group is comprised by about a half-dozen women who moved here from various parts of the globe and met by chance after enrolling in ELAA classes at the Rio Salado Southern location in Tempe. They have been practicing their skills in listening to, reading, speaking and writing the English language as a group under the guidance of Rio Salado instructors. Along the way, they have formed deep bonds of friendship and a support network that’s making it easier to adjust to life in the Valley.

Ko Young Nim is one of the youngest members of the group. She moved to Tempe nearly three years ago from Seoul, South Korea, to be with her husband who is studying at ASU.

Nim had a career as a counselor for children living with ADHT and Autism. “I have so many licenses in Korea but in the USA they are useless,” Nim said. She says she’s willing to start all over again because she and her husband want to stay in the U.S.

The English language has been challenging for Nim, who said many people have difficulty understanding her. She said the instructors at Rio Salado are “very good listeners” and help fine-tune her pronunciation.

Nim said her ELAA classes have a “healing” effect on her. “The environment is very good and comfortable to study.”

Nim decided to enroll in ELAA classes two years ago after feeling isolated and homesick. Like many of the women in the group, she had no family or friends. She beams when she talks about her new friends and what they mean to her.

The same holds true for Mesa resident Blanca Mojica, who moved here from Mexico City, Mexico. “I have friends,” she said proudly. “I think we consider ourselves here family. In my case, all of my family is in Mexico. It’s really interesting to be here because I have met people from all around the world… that maybe in Mexico I would never (have) had the chance to meet.”

Mojica has a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and once enjoyed a successful career in pharmaceutical manufacturing, which she hopes to resume here when she becomes more fluent in English.

Mojica explored other schools but chose Rio Salado because of the close proximity and one-on-one instruction. “I like many things, first the teachers, they are really nice. They are always in a better disposition to help us with our questions.” The other draw now, of course, is her new family.

Rio Salado offers ELAA courses at several Valley locations. The non-credit classes are self-paced and available to legal residents who are at least 16-years of age. Registration fees are in the range of $25-70 per trimester. There are no prerequisites or placement tests and students at all levels of English comprehension are welcome.  For more details call 480-517-8110 or visit 

This story can also be found in the June 28 edition of the Tempe Republic. By Annette Flores, manager of Rio Salado College media relations.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

eMagazines at the Rio Library

Below is mere a sampling of the wide selection of popular magazines that are freely available to registered Rio Salado College students.  Use your RioLearn login credentials to access these titles:

Wait, there's more. Use the Find a Journal link to see if the Rio Library subscribes to your favorite popular magazine.

Image by wiccked under a CC-BY-NC-ND license.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Job Search Strategies

When beginning a job search, often the first instinct is to run to online employment postings such as Monster or Jobing. This is not a bad idea, but it represents only a small portion of the open positions at any one time.

Some companies never post their open positions on these sites, but, instead, only post positions on their own website. It is not uncommon to waste hours combing through the endless pages of online job postings, never finding the right position.

Taking the time to go directly to various companies’ websites to check out their careers’ page may cut the process of searching for that right position in half.

There are several job opportunities with Rio Salado College, including Federal Work Study positions. Please visit for more details

Another major source of open positions comes from networking. Networking does not have to be a formal event where professionals are gathered for the sole purpose of connecting with other professionals. This is an important aspect of networking, but just making sure that peers and family members are aware of the type of position needed can go an incredibly long way.

It is difficult to know who may know about a position coming open so getting the word out to everyone is best. An uncle who works at a large company may not be aware of any upcoming openings, while a friend of a friend of a friend may be connected to that same company and does know that the perfect position will be opening up in a few weeks.

Also, because it is impossible to know who is connected to whom, it is best to consider every interaction and opportunity for networking. When one puts her best foot forward at all times, a positive reputation is developed. That positive reputation can go a long way when one is in need of employment!

The Rio Salado Counseling department can help with other job search tips; visit us at Finally, be sure to check out the Maricopa Career Network by heading to 

Contributed by Rio Salado Northern Counselor Amberly Lebeck Brown on behalf of Rio's Counseling Services, helping students with their personal, educational and career goals.

APS Foundaton $300K Fund for Rio i2Teach

Arizona Public Service Foundation awards Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation $300,000 to support student success.
Funds will support i2Teach Program at Rio Salado College. 

The Arizona Public Service Foundation will create a fund at the Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation to support a new i2Teach program at Rio Salado College. The intensive program, which will launch this fall, will establish mentor relationships for Rio Salado Teacher-in-Residence interns, who have a bachelor’s degree in a non-teacher education area, to achieve teacher certification while being employed as a pre-K-12 teacher statewide.

Preliminary research of this model has proven to increase job retention within the first two years of pre-K-12 classroom teaching. The Arizona Public Service Foundation funds will give priority preference to those teaching Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects.

The Foundation and the Maricopa Community Colleges District are engaged in a $50 million student success campaign. The contribution from Arizona Public Service is an example of corporations recognizing the significant role that the District and its colleges have in training the workforce.

The Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation, the fundraising arm of the Maricopa Community Colleges, ensures access and opportunity to a quality education to students throughout Maricopa County. This is just one example of how they work with organizations to do just that.

“We support students and programs at the 10 Maricopa Community Colleges,” said Dr. Steve Helfgot, CEO of the Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation. “With the generosity from supporters like Arizona Public Service, we are truly able to offer more resources and opportunities to our students.”

“Developing well-trained teachers in the STEM area is an important part of the future of our workforce and our community,” said Julie Coleman, Foundation Executive Director.

Information about the i2Teach program will be available in the coming weeks. To learn more about Rio Salado’s Teacher-in-Residence program, visit

About the Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation:
The Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation, with its donors and partners, supports the Maricopa County Community College District, its students, faculty and staff, through scholarships, programs, equipment, and financial and human capital.