AAMMP Up Your Skills

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Pima_AAMPChange your world at Pima

Pima Community College student Chelsea Begay wants to be a construction welder and see the world. Welding student Phillip Abbott used his recently acquired training on a job over the summer.

They, along with other PCC students and top industrial companies, are “amped up” about the new short-term career training program that is making achieving their goals possible.

In October 2014, PCC received a $2.5 million federal grant for the Arizona Aviation, Mining and Manufacturing Program (AAMMP Up). The program trains trade-affected workers, veterans and other underemployed adults for jobs in places such as power plants, mines and factories. Trade-affected workers are those who have lost jobs or wages because of free trade.

AAMMP Up offers a degree pathway to high-skill, high-paying jobs with four stackable certificates in Welding and a short-term Aviation Technology training program geared to newly discharged veterans. Other AAMMP Up programs are Electrical and Instrumentation Technology, Industrial Maintenance Mechanic and Mechatronics. PCC is hiring industry experts as instructors to make certain the hands-on education mirrors workplace needs.

Welding student Chelsea Begay

Welding student Chelsea Begay

Begay, one of a handful of women in the welding program, said her goal is to “travel and see the world. Being a pipe welder can get me there.”

When she graduates next spring, she hopes to start that journey with a four- to five-year apprenticeship in Texas, Colorado or Pennsylvania.

Abbott came to PCC’s Welding program last summer from The University of Arizona. He had no prior experience with welding, but has found the trade to his liking. He will complete his studies in December.

“I love Pima. The instructors are really helpful and they have a lot of experience,” Abbott said. “The facilities are great, and have gotten better and better.”

From enrollment to employment, students in the AAMMP Up program receive one-to-one case management and career advising. They get financial aid and scholarship guidance, job shadowing and apprenticeships, and may take a free, six-week basic math refresher course. The grant also includes $600,000 worth of new equipment and classroom improvements.

“The intention is to build on the certificate programs beginning with entry-level training and culminating in an Associate of Applied Science degree (AAS) over two years,” explained Denise Kingman, AAMMP Up program manager.

If a two-year commitment doesn’t work, you are in luck.

“There are companies looking for welders right now. Students can complete a six-month entry-level program and get immediate employment,” she said.

Local companies such as Johns Manville, Caid Industries and Asarco, for example, look to hire well-trained welders for good jobs. Chicago Bridge & Iron Co., a large, international company, also wants qualified welders for a new energy-related construction project along the Gulf Coast that eventually will employ 2,000 people.

“We’re not guessing what industry wants. We’re sitting down at the table with them,” explained Kingman.

“We are talking to industry to find out what they need not only today, but also in the future to stay ahead of the game,” added Stan Steinman, Pima’s dean of Workforce and Business Development.

As one example, this fall PCC is piloting an advanced manufacturing course using computer-aided design (CAD) and robotic arm welding to introduce students to mechatronics — a mix of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and computer science.

John Patterson, director of public relations for Raytheon Missile Systems, said PCC is doing all the right things to support the emerging workforce requirements for companies like Raytheon.

“Pima is collaborating with local employers to define key capabilities that are becoming more and more difficult to find in the labor market,” he said. “Their commitment to creating curricula that help fill the gaps is a significant value to the community and to the students they serve.” CF

For more information or to enroll, contact AAMMP Up Program Director Denise Kingman, dkingman1@pima.edu, or (520) 206-6365.


AAMMP Up Program funding comes from the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant, which is jointly administered by the U.S. Department of Labor and the Department of Education. This is the second such grant PCC has received in recent years.

- Jodi Goalstone

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