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Rio Salado College’s Educational Service Partnerships Help Employer Workforce Get Ahead

Rio Salado’s Educational Service Partnerships Helps Employer Workforce Get Ahead

Rio Salado College’s Educational Service Partnerships Help Employer Workforce Get Ahead

Steve Jobs once said, "Learn continually - there's always 'one more thing' to learn.” Education doesn’t end after K-12 — there’s always some vital skill to learn, some unknown-to-you area of knowledge to explore that will prove to be life-changing. But it can be hard sometimes to juggle the responsibilities of work and family with the desire to grow ourselves through learning. That’s one of the reasons why Rio Salado College started our Educational Service Partnership (ESP) program to offer training and career-path programs to working students.

Through partnerships formed with Rio Salado, employers across many fields in the Tempe and Phoenix area offer a customized learning experience for their workforce. These partnerships provide industry-specific training, giving students classwork and knowledge that is relevant to their professional interests. They also give student workers the opportunity to earn transferable credits and degrees they can use to further their education at four-year colleges and other schools. 

One of Rio Salado’s ESP partners is Cox Communications. Jim Barrier, a training manager at Cox, has been involved with the ESP program since its inception.

"The employees that come into our training — many of them have very little or no college education," said Barrier. "For many of them, this program is the kickstart for their college career."

Nico Bojorquez, an employee at Cox, experienced that ESP kickstart first-hand.

"Rio Salado prepared me for the leadership role I have with Cox and laid the foundation for me to pursue a degree in Business Management from Grand Canyon University," Bojorquez said.

Barrier praised the ESP program for its accessibility to employees and for the value it offers employers. 

"There's no out-of-pocket costs for the employees,” he said. “They don't have to pay for anything because Cox is providing the training and professional educators. The materials are all developed by Cox and approved by Rio Salado, and Rio provides the credits. That's a win-win from an employee and from a company standpoint.”

The ESP partnerships empower organizations to develop training programs that give their employees job training while also offering them the chance to expand their educational horizons.

"They start building their credits right away which they could turn into a higher degree," Barrier said.

Several Cox employees have used the opportunities afforded by the ESP program to work their way toward bachelor's degrees.

In addition to Cox Communications, Rio Salado has partnerships established with organizations that include USAA, Freedom Financial Network, GoDaddy, Salt River Project, CVS Health, and multiple law enforcement agencies.. If you’d like to find out more about our Educational Service Partnerships programs, visit or call 480-517-8512. 

*Employment by these organizations is required.

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