Community College and Chamber Partner to Create Tempe Workforce Skills Accelerator

Rio Salado College and the Tempe Chamber of Commerce will host an event Friday, May 5, to unveil a new partnership designed to address workforce skills gaps in Tempe.

The partnership will establish the Tempe Workforce Skills Accelerator program, which will offer three microcredentials to Tempe Businesses, to upskill their workforce.  Through the Tempe Chamber & Tempe Chamber Foundation, there will also be 20 scholarships available to underwrite the costs for those employers that would experience financial hardship from enrolling their employees.

The available programs are Certificate of Completion in Small Business Management, Certificate of Completion in Data Analytics, and Certificate of Completion in Quality Customer Service.

All three programs will be delivered entirely online and can be completed in 6-12 months.  The agreement aligns with the City of Tempe’s educational achievement goal that aims to have 65% of Tempe residents aged 25 or older attain a degree or certificate by the year 2030.  Rio Salado College President Kate Smith and Tempe Chamber President/CEO Colin Diaz, ACE, IOM will be on hand to share news about the program and sign the partnership agreement.

The selected programs offer training in some of the most desired skills sought by Tempe Chamber employers based on a 2022 survey by the Chamber and Rio Salado. In a survey, nearly two-thirds of the Tempe Chamber of Commerce member respondents expressed an interest in offering microcredentials to their employees.

“We are honored to partner with the Tempe Chamber of Commerce to address critical workforce skills gaps, provide socio economic mobility pathways for the community, and empower an innovative, educated, and inspired workforce,” said Rio Salado President Kate Smith.

“We are proud to be locking arms with Rio Salado College and to be partnering on such a timely and impactful program,” said Colin Diaz, ACE, IOM, Tempe Chamber President/CEO. “Education is not just about acquiring knowledge, but also about building skills that empower individuals to shape their own future. It can truly become the catalyst for unlocking the full potential of employees, paving the way for businesses to grow and prosper, while allowing the employees to thrive in a rapidly evolving job market.”

The programs selected for the launch of the Accelerator fall in line with the needs expressed by employers in the Tempe Chamber. Employers noted in the 2022 report that the highest needs are in areas of sales and marketing operations, front line staff management, customer service, and information technology.

Under the partnership agreement, the Tempe Chamber will provide an investment of $20,000 to help scholarship 20 program participants. Rio Salado will work hand-in-hand with the Tempe Chamber to enroll the participants and provide the education and student support services needed to guide them to successful completion.

The program’s microcredentials are accredited, transferable and stackable to higher-level degrees, giving students the opportunity to further their education and in-demand workforce skills. Microcredentials provide evidence students have demonstrated specific skills and competencies endorsed by the issuing institution.

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