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The Double Benefit of Workforce Development

photo of a group of diverse workers with text Rio Celebrates Workforce Development Month headshot of Kathy Hoffman, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction photo of Rio Salado College student Vera Batista Cespedes

The Double Benefit of Workforce Development

Each September, the country recognizes National Workforce Development Month and the important role that workforce training plays in maintaining a thriving economy.

As the largest provider of adult education in Arizona, Rio Salado College is continuing to lead the way in helping adults get the training and skills needed for career advancement while also helping to boost the local economy.

“Rio Salado is committed to providing quality adult education programs that positively impact the state’s workforce system,” said Dr. Tamara Cochran, Rio Salado College Dean of Instruction and Community Development. “By investing in our students, we are not only training them for the jobs of tomorrow but creating a pathway to a meaningful career as well.”

Last year, Kathy Hoffman, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction, called out the challenges faced by many adults whose lack of educational opportunities directly impacts their ability to find jobs.

“Through the provision of adult education statewide, adults in Arizona who face barriers to employment, such as lacking a secondary diploma, low academic skills, and/or limited English language skills, are given the opportunity to improve their skills, advance their education, and eliminate these barriers. By improving the employability index of these individuals, the economic impact to Arizona cannot be overstated.”

Rio Salado College addresses these barriers by offering award-winning adult education programs and workforce development training to set students up for success. These include GED® Test Prep classes, English Language Acquisition for Adults and career training opportunities.

Recently, student Vera Batista Cespedes took advantage of Rio Salado’s new workforce development pathway partnership with Phoenix College and enrolled in the Medical Administrative Assisting (MAA) program.

Originally from Cuba, Batista Cespedes came to Rio Salado for a chance to expand on the knowledge she learned in another country, improve her English skills and prepare for a career in the U.S.

"I enrolled in the MAA program because I think it is a great opportunity and I am passionate about medicine," Batista Cespedes said. "In Cuba I was an X-ray technician and I want to continue my studies in that branch of medicine."

Batista Cespedes is currently thriving in her program.

"I like everything about my classes," she said. "I think that all the content I've studied so far is very interesting and necessary for medical practice. Rio Salado College has a very good teaching program and incredible tutors. The teachers give their best in classes."

Batista Cespedes plans to continue her educational journey into the world of medicine once she finishes her MAA program. “I am interested in continuing my studies in the field of radiology and orthopedics,” she said.

If you are interested in learning more about Rio Salado’s adult education programs, visit or see the list of workforce development opportunities below.

Adult Education and Workforce Development Opportunities

  • Medical Administrative Assisting - Rio Salado has partnered with Phoenix College to offer students a direct pathway to enroll in Phoenix College's medical assisting program. Students who participate in the GED® Test Prep program at Rio can enroll in Phoenix College’s 18-unit Medical Assisting certificate program. Program completion gives students the skills and knowledge for front office work in the medical field. More info.

  • Constructional Trades – Partnership with South Mountain Community College (SMCC) where Rio Salado offers GED® test prep courses at SMCC. Students can simultaneously enroll in one of SMCC’s Construction Trades Institute (CTI) programs to get training in the carpentry, plumbing or electrical fields. More info.

  • Rio Salado College (RSC) at West-MEC – Locations in Buckeye and North Phoenix offering GED® Test prep classes both day and evening to help students develop the academic skills to obtain a high school equivalency diploma. More info.

  • Additional Adult Education Career Training – Rio Salado offers a variety of training opportunities – App Development, Cybersecurity, Entrepreneurial Studies, General Business, Nanotechnology, Retail, Risk Management and Insurance and more - that are directly aligned to making an impact in the workforce. More info.

By Mira Radovich, Senior Contributing Writer

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