TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A tuition-free trade school helping low-income community members is expanding in southern Arizona. Sigma College University Trade School, based in Phoenix, offers housing to people going through job training.
"We can literally take someone that's homeless off the street, put them through this program and within 6 to 24 months they have achieved sustainability," said Sigma CUTS Founder Blu Mitchell.
A local physician and philanthropist, Gaetan Kayitankore, donated a home in Tucson to Sigma CUTS. The home will house up to five people while they learn a new trade.
Sigma CUTS is geared for people transitioning from foster care, experiencing homelessness or leaving prison. Priority is given to veterans interested job training. Mitchell said the program connects participants mental, spiritual and physical health services.
"We take care of their meal preps for them here, healthy meals, their transportation to and from program," Mitchell said. "Their goal is to remain passionate and choose a career path that will allow them longevity."
People can become certified as nursing or medical assistants or purse paths in construction, dentistry, social media marketing and the list goes on. Mitchell said people receive pre-apprenticeship education with a guaranteed apprenticeship placement. He's currently looking for businesses in Tucson interested in taking apprentices.
"We know that businesses right now have an extremely tight budget and they might not be able to pay for staff that can adequately boost their business," he said. "That's where we come in."
Sigma CUTS pays for the first 500 hours of the apprenticeship which is equal to about six months. Mitchell said the best part is watching people transform their lives.
"They are able to make enough money on their own to take care of themselves and family," he said.
Visit the Sigms CUTS website to learn more about the job training program, volunteer or if you’re a business interested in accepting apprentices.