Maricopa Community Colleges partner in a $4 million grant to help low-income parents pursue training for high-demand fields
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Maricopa Community Colleges partner in $4 M grant to help low-income parents train for high-demand careers

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  • Heidi Capriotti/Maricopa Community Colleges


Maricopa Community College District is collaborating in a $4 million U.S. Department of Labor grant to address the labor needs by helping low-income parents pursue education and training to enter high-demand fields. 

Under the Strengthening Working Families Initiative proposal, the grant was awarded to an interdisciplinary and intergovernmental team made up of several departments within the City of Phoenix, as well as ARIZONA@WORK – City of Phoenix and Maricopa County, American Job Centers, Maricopa Community Colleges, Arizona Department of Economic Security Child Care Administration, MAXIMUS Human Services, and the Association for Supportive Child Care.

“After the US Labor Department announced this opportunity last spring, the City of Phoenix approached us to be the training provider on the proposal,” says Maricopa Community College District Chancellor Maria Harper-Marinick. “Our collaboration with the city and the rest of the partners is an excellent opportunity to strengthen support for parents, help the families, and build thriving and vibrant communities.”

The funding will deliver workforce and ancillary support services to 600 parents living primarily in Maryvale and Mesa with the flexibility of serving the greater Maricopa County and Arizona region.

The project will recruit, train and assist low- income parents with dependent children who qualify for Head Start, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and/or Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act programs in securing and retaining employment in targeted middle to high-skilled occupations, specifically in healthcare, information technology, and business.

According to Kerri Barnes, ARIZONA@WORK Workforce Development supervisor, the project will remove barriers to training encountered by low-income parents, specifically access to quality child care and navigation of the complex systems to access the services they need, by offering cohort training through the college district and customized support services leading to job placement.

For the Maricopa Community College District, the grant will allow for the hiring of an education navigator who will provide services to the more than 600 students who will be referred to the district’s educational offerings.

“The grant will benefit us long-term by strengthening partnerships with the agencies involved,” says Harper-Marinick. “It also will help create a better system of referring, serving and placing our students.”

The internal collaboration effort on the grant proposal included colleges and several departments. The Trade and Technical Training programs at GateWay Community College-Central City Campus, Glendale Community College, Maricopa Corporate College and Rio Salado College have been identified as the training providers from the Maricopa Community College District.

“The overall grant proposal was led by the City of Phoenix, but within the Maricopa Community College District, the support from those where the fit made sense was phenomenal,” says Colleen Bivona, lead grant writer at the Maricopa Community College District.

The Strengthening Working Families Initiative grant is 100% funded through the US Department of Labor.  This is an Equal Opportunity program and auxiliary aids are available upon request.

For more information on this grant, contact Kerri Barnes at 602-534-0548.

Media Contacts:  Heidi Capriotti, 480-731-8503, and Christine Lambrakis, 602-286-8227,