By Dalton Grijalva
On Wednesday, Sept. 8, the Thomas R. Brown Family Foundation announced it would be giving Pima Community College $2.5 million to advance Pima’s applied Technology programs.
According to Chancellor Lee Lambert, the goal is for Pima to further establish itself as the center of economic recovery and growth within the region. The donation will support employer demand for high-skilled technicians.
The announcement was made at PCC’s downtown campus in front of the Automotive Technology and Innovation Center, which is set to be completed in 2021.
“The focus on Centers of Excellence, public-private partnerships and expanding the economic vitality of our region through high-tech training and reskilling of both new and incumbent workers is exactly what our community needs,” said Sarah Smallhouse, president of the Brown Foundation. “Pima’s strategic plan has been developed thoughtfully with community partners and is being adeptly implemented by Chancellor Lambert and his team. We have confidence in the direction the College is going and its leadership.”
Pima will also be receiving $15 million in state funding and plans to expand its Aviation Technology Center at the Tucson International Airport.
“If you think about the 175,000 individuals who are low wage earners,” said Chancellor Lee Lambert. “We have thousands of individuals who have some college but no degree. You couple that with a new reality and that reality is that industry 4.0, the four super powers, A.I., Mobile Technology, cloud computing and the internet are transforming every sector of the economy and really calling for and demanding that we skill, reskill, and up skill today’s workforce and the future workforce of our community. That’s what Pima has really been focused on since I arrived here in Tucson, Arizona over seven and a half years ago.”
These Centers of Excellence aim to be the best in their specific category of applied technology with access to up to date equipment for an ever changing field.
“Employers want graduates who are trained in the relevant industrial technology of today and the future,” said Lambert. “This is increasingly expensive. We cannot build the same classrooms and train on the same equipment we did 10 and 20 years ago.”
”To provide something of value to mankind” is the purpose of the Burr-Brown Corporation and by extension the Burr- Brown foundation. The foundation says it has four basic principles it wants to achieve within the next twenty years: research and education, workforce development, civic leadership and economics education.
This donation will be the largest ever given to a Pima Foundation. The degrees in Applied Technology will be offered to students at an affordable community college price while competing with high level universities.
“Pima Community College has laid out a bold vision for a vibrant future,” said Governing Board Chair Demion Clinco. “Partners like Thomas R. Brown Family Foundation will be what brings this vision to life.”