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How MCCCD is rethinking what it means to attend community college

4 Apr 2022 7:00 AM | Calvin DeVoll (Administrator)

Opinion: From 4-year degrees to semiconductor bootcamp, Maricopa County Community College District is offering innovative programs to train in-demand workers.

Maricopa County Community College District provides the most cost-effective higher education in the state. We are Arizona’s largest workforce training provider in multiple industries.

Nonetheless, we’re driven to do more by connecting students to innovative programs with sustainable and growing careers. The latest proof: the community college district has selected its first bachelor’s degrees for development.

The baccalaureate degrees, paved by legislation Arizona lawmakers passed last year, are in seven areas – ranging from programming and data analysis, nuclear medicine technology and computed topography, to early childhood education and dual certification in elementary/special education.

Over the next year, the district will be creating the courses and requirements for each four-year degree with a goal of offering the new degree programs beginning in fall 2023.


Years ago, I would have said no. Now, it's absolutely yes

These programs will further support our students, many of whom would not typically transfer to a university after earning a two-year degree. Now, they will have the convenience and affordability to continue after their associate degree at one of the district’s colleges.

Semiconductor, AI programs are cutting edge

It’ll build on our already impressive track record of innovation and career development.

Last month, first lady Jill Biden visited Intel in Chandler to highlight continued investments in manufacturing and workforce development as a driving force behind Arizona’s and our nation’s strong economic security and job creation. Leaders from the community college district and Intel briefed Biden about the upcoming Semiconductor Technician Bootcamp partnership that will lead to high demand jobs with competitive wages.

Responding to Arizona’s rapid expansion in semiconductor manufacturing in recent years, MCCCD identified industry partners to develop innovative and accelerated curriculum, including a series of 10 four-hour classes with nighttime options available.


Community colleges still face restrictions

Another example of our cost-effective, cutting-edge education is within the artificial intelligence industry. Just last fall, the district put the certificate and degree in motion for the first artificial intelligence program in the country; we already have plans to expand the program as the first student class begins graduating.

The program – a partnership of Chandler-Gilbert Community College, Estrella Mountain Community College, Intel and the Arizona Commerce Authority – will not only prepare these students for a lifetime of opportunities but also open doors for employers to quickly tap a prepared workforce.

Despite challenges, we're finding new opportunities

The students of MCCCD are among the brightest and hardworking emerging leaders of the modern era, and we continue to capitalize on our investments to further their career opportunities.

This legislative session, the community college district has led on legislation that appropriates $8.6 million for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and workforce programs. It is yet another example of how the district continues to be a national leader in community college education.

There is no investment in Arizona’s economic future without investing in our students.

Through the pandemic, one of the most challenging periods our nation has seen, we have created new, dynamic opportunities for our students, our community and our state. Where we can do more, the Maricopa County Community College District will continue to find a way.

Marie Sullivan is president of the Maricopa Community College District Governing Board. Linda Thor and Susan Bitter Smith serve as board members. Reach them at and


520 E. Southern Ave.
Tempe, AZ 85282


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