Maricopa County Community College District invited to White House celebration

In recognition of its growing number of workforce development programs in in-demand industry sectors, the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) was invited to attend the White House’s anniversary celebration of the Pledge to America’s Workers Month in Washington D.C.

In 2018, President Trump officially designated the month of July as Pledge to America’s Workers month, which challenges corporations from across the United States to invest resources in training and preparing employees for the future of the job market. The White House says over 280 organizations have signed the pledge as of July 1, 2019.

Darcy Renfro, Chief of Staff at Maricopa County Community College District, said the district was “honored” to be able to attend the anniversary celebration. MCCCD was one of only two educational institutions represented at the anniversary celebration, which mostly consisted of corporations from across the United States, Renfro said.

Hannah Cheloha, a student at Mesa Community College (MCC), was selected to represent the Maricopa County Community College District at the event due to her success in MCC’s Everyone Can Code program, an Apple-developed curriculum designed to help students learn the Swift coding language. Swift is a relatively young coding language used for software development on Apple operating systems, according to Apple’s website.

“It was in incredible honor to be invited to the White House by Apple to represent Maricopa Community Colleges and the Everyone Can Code program,” said Cheloha in a statement. “I am grateful for the amazing opportunity I had to represent MCCCD and to openly support the Everyone Can Code program at the White House.”

Alongside a group of MCC Students, Cheloha helped develop an iOS app called RISE – short for Resources, Information and Service for Everyone. The app is designed to connect people around the nation with shelter, health resources, and other social services, Renfro said. The goal was to create an app that would help students alleviate concerns related to basic human needs so they can focus more on their education, according to a press release.

“At the White House, I heard testimonials from American workers about how pledges like Apple’s are helping American workers increase skills, earn higher incomes, and achieve promotions,” Cheloha said in a statement. “I have personally reaped the benefits of Apple’s pledge and feel confident that workers in Arizona can increase their job skills and marketability by earning the Swift micro certificate through MCCCD.”

MCCCD says it trains and provide certifications ”for 95 percent of the most in-demand jobs in Arizona.” In addition to its Everyone Can Code Program, MCCCD provides a number of other opportunities related to computer science, including a Blockchain Technology Certificate of Completion at MCC, a Red Hat Enterprise Linux program at Glendale Community College.

“The Maricopa Community Colleges believe in preparing our community with the skills needed to be successful in the workforce of tomorrow,” said Dr. Maria Harper-Marinick, MCCCD Chancellor, in a press release. “We are committed to building a sustainable workforce and thank the White House for recognizing our innovative programs that help the economy and place our students in successful careers.”

Nick Serpa

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