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Arizona Edition: Enrollment up, programs expand and new construction at AWC

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Arizona Edition

Another academic year wrapped up for Arizona Western College with the announcement of afirst-of its kind initiative to boost the local workforce.

This is KAWC’s Arizona Edition.

The choice to pursue higher education has often been framed as an intellectual pursuit versus a working-class need.

But it turns out students and employers are of the same mind about what the college experience should lead to, and it isn't always a degree.

Students want accessibility, flexibility, and real training so they can work or continue on in their educational endeavors. Employers want workers trained in real world skills, need that training to happen quickly when a community need is identified, and want to have some input into how that is done.

Both groups say they are not comfortable or happy with the standard semester schedule, or the often-unwieldy bureaucracy of higher education. It may be part of the reason college enrollment is down as potential students question the time, quality and cost of a higher education path.

Across the country community colleges are struggling with these questions and watching their enrollment numbers decline too.

Of the ten community college districts in Arizona, all are seeing lower enrollment numbers, except one.

Arizona Western College President Dr. Daniel Corr says the college has tried to be nimble about its offerings, respectful of the student experience, and responsive to community needs.

On this episode of Arizona Edition, we talk to Dr. Corr about new programs (including dental hygiene), expanded partnerships with NAU-Yuma (new mechanical engineering baccalaureate degree), and the reason all this is necessary (today’s students are different, as is the view of the value of a college degree).

AWC New Entrepreneurial College

Lou grew up in Tucson and has a long family history in the state of Arizona. He began his public radio career in 1988 at KNAU in Flagstaff as a classical music DJ and has been hooked on public radio since, transitioning to news after trying his hand at several other careers in publishing and commercial broadcasting. Lou has a degree in American Studies from Arizona State University and was KAWC's Morning Edition host for two and half years before becoming News and Operations Director.
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