The Gila County Board of Supervisors were glad to discuss education rather than politics at Tuesday's day-long meeting in Payson. Gila Community College Dean Margo Bracamonte presented a report to the board, sharing highlights from the school's recent progress.
At the moment, GCC is providing postsecondary educational services to more than 2,000 students in Gila County, she said.
The college is offering degrees in three areas -- education, law enforcement and nursing -- and is involved in the development of a fire science degree. These programs have been established in order to address the acute shortages of trained professionals in Arizona, Bracamonte said. Class credits from these programs transfer to four-year colleges and universities. GCC also offers associate's degrees in business, computers, automotive technology, welding technology, allied health care and will add subjects as the need is identified.
Workforce development partnerships have been created with a variety of agencies and businesses throughout the county and state, Bracamonte said, and a casino management program has been implemented to meet the training needs of the county's casinos.
Construction trade classes are being offered at the San Carlos and Globe-Miami campuses of the college.
Two different fire service programs are in place -- Fire Department Operations I and II are available to Globe and Miami High School students.
In Payson, the Fire Science Advisory Committee has developed a four-semester sequence of fire science classes for which high school students can receive dual credit (for high school and college) and certify for entry-level employment with fire service agencies.
The college has developed 20 new courses this year to meet the needs of the communities it serves, Bracamonte said. The new programs include phlebotomy, hotel management and Apache language.
Working with APS district managers, the college is discussing the development of lineman and designer-engineer programs.
An ADOT apprenticeship training program has also been developed with the college.
A comprehensive, not-for-credit career and technical education program in real estate has been initiated in Payson, and GCC has started the Payson Discovery Forum to provide no-cost education/entertainment programs twice a month.