It Takes A Village to Support A Graduate

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Through a partnership with the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, Pima Community College is helping train tribal members for more prosperous careers.

Frances Trinidad, who works full time at the U.S. Department of Veterans Aff airs and runs her own concrete and landscaping business, is the first in her family to attend college and the first female to complete Pima’s Truck Driver Training through the Pascua Yaqui Tribe Native American Career and Technical Education Program (NACTEP), which focuses on getting tribal members job skills for employment in specific industries.

“CDL training is something I’ve always wanted to do,” the recent graduate said.

Through the NACTEP partnership, members of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe can pursue educational programs at Pima to become a nurse, nursing assistant, medical assistant, pharmacy technician, health information technologist, phlebotomist, emergency medical technician, building and construction technician who specializes in electrical, HVAC, plumbing or carpentry, professional truck driver, aircraft technician, or food services or lodging manager. Also, through this collaboration, participants can take courses on the Pascua Yaqui Reservation, reducing transportation barriers.

“Pima Community College is one of our biggest educational partners in helping tribal members earn credentials that lead to employment opportunities or career advancement,” said Cheryl Bakari, director of the NACTEP. “Approximately 100 tribal members attend Pima each year.”

“I kept putting the training off because I didn’t have the money to pay for it upfront and I didn’t want to take out loans.” Trinidad said. “When I found out that I could complete the CDL program tuition-free, I jumped on the opportunity.”

Trinidad said the support she received was invaluable.

“I had the best village at Pima and NACTEP,” she said.

The success Trinidad has had and the value she has placed on education already is aff ecting her family. She said her children, ages 15 and 11, know that with hard work and self-determination they can do it too.

“I knew that I was setting an example for my family,” she said. “I’ve instilled the importance of going to college.”

Eventually, Trinidad plans to purchase a semi-truck and, perhaps, start her own delivery and transportation company.


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