Four hundred young adults in south Phoenix who are currently not in school or working will be able to return to school this fall through Hope College and Career Readiness Academy.
Hope College and Career Readiness Academy will open September 2016 with 20 to 30 classrooms on a 53,000 square foot campus within the campus of South Mountain Community College. The academy will focus on educating 800 “opportunity youths,” starting with 400 this fall, from south Phoenix. Classes will include career technical education, dual enrollment and GED-prep courses.
Opportunity youth are young people ages 16 to 24 who are not working or in school. According to a 2012 report by Measure of America, one in five Maricopa County youths were disconnected, the highest rate of disconnection amongst the 25 largest U.S. metro areas. The rate in south Phoenix is 1 in 3.
Gregory Copeland will lead the new school as principal, while Kim Higginbotham will work as the assistant principal.
“I think this is a game changer,” Copeland said. “I think this is a game changer, not only for South Mountain Community College, but also for Phoenix.”
Copeland has worked as a principal at all levels of K-12 and also as a program specialist at the Arizona Department of Education. He plans to engage the community, along with the students, in making Hope a place of successes.
“With such high numbers of opportunity youth in south Phoenix and the South Mountain area, it gives us the chance to change their lives,” he said. “That change affects those students’ communities and that community’s world.”
Hope College and Career Readiness Academy is a subsidiary of Kids at Hope Inc., which has a long history of supporting youths in Arizona. Maricopa County Regional School District and South Mountain Community College will collectively collaborate in setting up the academy. Maricopa County Regional currently serves 3,500 young adults annually in their career and academic paths.
Maricopa County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Donald D. Covey and Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton worked with multiple area agencies through the last three years to bring to light the issue of opportunity youth in Maricopa County.
“In Phoenix we don’t give up on anybody, and the Hope Academy really embodies that ethic,” said Mayor Greg Stanton. “Phoenix is a proud partner in helping make this project a reality, and I can’t wait until it’s open and helping opportunity youth connect to education and skills that will change their lives, and our community, for the better.”
Groundbreaking festivities for Hope College and Career Readiness Academy will be held at 10 a.m., Thursday, April 7, on the campus of South Mountain Community College.
Young people interested in learning more about the school can visit www.HCCRA.org or stop by information table during the groundbreaking event for a packet of material and to speak with school personnel. Ongoing registration will occur Monday through Friday, 8am-5pm, at South Mountain Community College, Room LRC-186.
Hope College and Career Readiness Academy Groundbreaking Ceremony
10 a.m., Thursday, April 7
South Mountain Community College,
7050 S. 24th St.
Phoenix, AZ 85042
10 a.m. Groundbreaking ceremony; 11:15 a.m. Reception
Event is open to the public and media.