TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Pima Community College and Goodwill Industries of Southern Arizona are teaming up to open a door that many in Tucson might have thought was closed to them.
They are providing a free college preparation course.
Through Goodwill's Job Connection Centers, anyone with a high school diploma or G-E-D can take the six-week class.
The Job Connection Centers already help with job hunting, resumes, interview skills, applying for work and more.
Now Goodwill's job centers are helping set people on the career ladder of their choice.
The college and career preparation course takes the mystery out of college and deals with everything from understanding how college credits work to registering for classes to honing study skills to getting financial aid.
One class already graduated.
"By the time we were done, we were enrolled. We had student ID numbers We went on campus, did assessments, had something picked out, had a degree plan in the system--which, of course, we can change. But it was all done. There was no reason not to step into a classroom after that," says program graduate and Goodwill employee Monica Terrill.
"One of the obstacles to getting into Pima is not knowing how much it cost. What am I going to do? How do I get there? Do I really need to go? And this really answers a lot of those questions and it's done in a very easy manner," Terrill says.
"And then the instructor follows up with them throughout their college experience to make sure--to see if they need any support, etc. And then Goodwill comes back into the picture, after they've earned their certificate or the degree, and we can help them find employment," says Goodwill Industries of Southern Arizona Interim President & CEO Liz Gulick.
Pima Community College Chancellor Dr. Lee Lambert says the partnership is part of a national initiative called C4, or Community College Career Collaboration.
He says Goodwill and community colleges are partnering in cities across the country.
"Now Tucson, thanks to Goodwill Industries of Southern Arizona and PCC, is now part of that larger initiative to bring job training skills to folks in the community, to get them to a different place in terms of where they currently are. So a lot of focus around education and training and reengage them into the educational pipeline," Lambert says.
"When you haven't been in school for a while or maybe you haven't been to a college campus, that can be intimidating for people and so this C4 Class helps take that fear factor away so people get comfortable here. They get to explore what they might want to do and then they actually end up visiting a campus," Gulick says.
Lambert says the benefit goes beyond the student.
"The benefit ultimately is for our community as a whole. As we reengage folks to better job opportunities. And they improve their lives, then their lives, in turn, improve their children's lives and then they improve the community overall," Lambert says.
The PCC/Goodwill partnership in Tucson is set to last five years.
One class has graduated. Another is underway now.
The next class will be in the spring.
Sign up at any of the four Tucson Goodwill Job Connection Centers in Tucson.