Tucson Electric Power partners with Pima Community College (PCC) to promote careers both within and outside the energy industry to stimulate job creation and economic development in our community.
Here are five ways we support Pima Community College:
Pima Foundation Sponsorship
TEP regularly supports the Pima Foundation, which manages philanthropic contributions to expand access to education at PCC with scholarships, enhanced academic programs and facilities.
Electric Vehicle Training
Part of our foundation support benefits the Automotive Technology and Innovation Center, which teaches skills needed to repair electric vehicles (EVs) and chargers.
Knowledge of this evolving technology will be crucial as more EVs hit the road, a shift that TEP is supporting with infrastructure, rebates and discounted rates. TEP is in the process of transitioning its own vehicles to all-electric or hybrid by 2030.
“As businesses convert their fleets to electric vehicles and more residents buy electric cars, there will be a big need for training on how to repair and maintain these EVs and charging stations,” said Camila Martins-Bekat, Senior Market Development Representative. “Our support of Pima Community College will help our customers through that transition.”
Preparation for Utility Careers
TEP worked with PCC and Southwest Gas to create Energy Technology Certificates that students can earn to prepare for a variety of utility careers.
The program teaches students about energy industry fundamentals and relevant math, along with gas and electrical techniques. Students can earn nationally recognized credentials and become qualified for jobs with TEP, Southwest Gas, and other utility contractors and related employers.
TEP employees teach some of the classes. Before the pandemic, students attended some classes at our offices and facilities on East Irvington Road, where they learned firsthand about power lines and energy generation. During the pandemic, employees have taught some classes virtually.
Bringing Expertise to Lessons
TEP lends our employees’ expertise to support of Pima’s programs.
Tyler Kilian, TEP’s Director of Information Technology Operations and Enterprise Cyber Security, serves on the Information Technology curriculum advisory panel, which includes Pima’s innovative Center of Excellence in Information Technology/Cybersecurity. Pima offers several IT-centric degrees, including an associate of applied science in cybersecurity.
As one of a dozen or so industry representatives, Kilian provides input and insight as PCC develops programs and curriculum for in-demand IT skills.
“That way, Pima has feedback to focus on the real-world application of lessons and how their unique approach provides immediate value to business that cannot be found with more ‘traditional’ college programs,” Kilian said. “We have a lot of discussion about what the needs are in the workforce and what programs are valuable. Pima has a diverse student population, which will help enhance the greater IT workforce.”
Getting Ready for Success
TEP helps students be prepared when starting their education.
PCC students are eligible to apply for scholarships through the RMEL Foundation, which administers scholarships designated for Arizona college students who are considering careers in the electric energy industry. TEP sponsors RMEL scholarships of $1,000 to $3,000 each year.
TEP representatives have participated in “signing day,” similar to a signing ceremony for college athletes, for students who commit to technical studies and careers during National Career and Technical Education (CTE) Letter of Intent Signing Day.
“It was exciting for the students and their parents,” said Jamie Carpenter, TEP Learning and Development Specialist. “The event was a great way to highlight TEP’s preparation programs and career opportunities.”
See a story about the 2020 PCC event, which recognized our employees as partners. In-person signing day events have been put on hold during the pandemic.