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Legislative Priorities

Pima Community College has three legislative priorities for FY 2015. The College will pursue these priorities in the upcoming session of the Arizona Legislature, which begins in January. PCC’s priorities are:

  1. Funding request for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Workforce Programs to support the innovative workforce programs and partnerships with business and industry:
  2. Expansion of Arizona Ready Education Council goals to include a specific challenge to the community college system to increase associate degrees, certificates and in-state University transfers to increase 50% by 2020.
  3. Funding support to implement the Pathways to Student Success in College and Career Attainment.

PCC’s legislative priorities align with the priorities of the Arizona Community College Coordinating Council, the group of ten community college districts to which PCC belongs.

1.  Funding request for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Workforce Programs to support the innovative workforce programs and partnerships with business and industry:

Community colleges’ play a critical role in preparing career-ready individuals for the demands of a highly skilled workforce. According to the Brookings Institute, STEM jobs are a much larger economic driver both nationally and regionally than currently thought; one-third of all jobs are filled by craft professionals and other blue collar workers.

National data on STEM as reported by the Brookings Institute shows that:

  • There now are 26 million US jobs (20% of all jobs) that require a high level of knowledge in any one STEM field; previously estimated by the National Science Foundation at 4-5%. 
  • Community colleges award more than one-half of all postsecondary STEM degrees
  • Half of all STEM jobs with an average salary of $53,000 does not require a four-year degree
  • Sub-bachelor STEM jobs are prevalent in every large metropolitan area; STEM jobs that require at least a bachelor’s degree are clustered in certain metropolitan areas.

Among the states on STEM:

  • CA, TX, NY, PA, and FL ranks as the top five in STEM graduation; AZ ranks 10th in STEM graduation rate when compared with other  states (PCC, PIR 9/13)
  • AZ Colleges and Universities conferred 8.9 % in STEM field in the 2008-09 academic year compared to 10.7% across the United States
  • AZ rank 18th by total number (166,000) of STEM jobs projected in 2018; 1st – CA at 1.1M; 2nd – TX at 758K

At the County level, in academic year 2008-09, Pima County only conferred 17 of the 12, 993 STEM related awards conferred within AZ, and in 2011, the number of STEM jobs in Pima County alone reached 63,550.

STEM/Non STEM wage comparisons:

STEM wages NON-STEM wages
all jobs $64,403 $33,356
jobs requiring bachelor's or more $80,024 $48,763
jobs requiring associates' or less $50,104 $30,506

2.  Expansion of Arizona Ready Education Council goals to include a specific challenge to the community college system to increase associate degrees, certificates and in-state University transfers to increase 50% by 2020.

In addition to its workforce mission, Pima Community College with the ACCCC continues its commitment to the degree completion outcomes as outlined in the Arizona Ready Education Council goals.

Pima’s institutional goal in the area of academic transfer to increase baccalaureate degree attainment by 50% by Year 2020 is demonstrated by its partnerships with multiple universities nationwide in achieving this goal (provide university transfer agreements link here).

3.  Funding support to implement the Pathways to Student Success in College and Career Attainment.

Pima Community College with ACCC plans to respond to the 50% degree completion increase challenge by Year 2020 through a collective community college system initiative called Pathways to Student Success in College and Career Attainment. This program establishes a set of common goals that is aligned with the proposed Arizona Ready Education Council goal for each community college in the state, while allowing each community college district the flexibility to tailor their programs to address the specific needs of the students in their community. Common goals include:

  • Targeted student programs in conjunction with the K-12 system to ensure college-bound students are prepared for college-level coursework;
  • Expanded educational opportunities for students that match their college and career choices and timeframes for completion;
  • Financial Aid programs for students for whom accessibility to higher education is a matter of affordability;
  • Emphasis on student retention through more robust academic and career advisement services for students at risk of non-completion.

Pima Community College with ACCC will work together to advance the legislative priorities outlined above, and in support of ACCCC’s effort to continue to unify the ten districts as a community college system in Arizona, while preserving the unique character in each of our respective communities.

For more information or questions about Pima Community College’s legislative agenda, please feel free to contact Ms. Imelda V. Cuyugan, Assistant Vice Chancellor for State & Local Government Relations at 520-206-4762, or send an email to statelocalgov@pima.edu.