Rio Slado College Welcomes Tempe Mayor Corey Woods During His Inaugural Visit
Rio Salado College President Kate Smith welcomed Tempe Mayor Corey Woods and City Councilmembers Robin Arredondo Savage and Doreen Garlid to campus this week. The event highlighted the partnership between the city and the college, which has made Tempe home since 1996.
“Today is the beginning of on-going dialogue about how our institutions can continue working together to create lasting, positive change for our beloved City of Tempe,” Smith said.
Rio Salado’s 2020-2021 Student Senator Cordero Holmes and 2021-2022 Student Senator Emma Harlow also joined in the event with college leadership and City Council staff. While college leadership pointed to various programs that are directly benefiting Tempe residents, Rio Salado’s students shared their journey with the college.
Holmes discovered his educational path with Rio Salado while incarcerated. He’s seen first-hand the impact education can make. He will graduate with two associate degrees later this fall. His education laid the foundation to complete his bachelor’s degree in the future, he said.
“Education creates a pride, a confidence and a hope,” he said.
Harlow graduated from Tempe’s Corona del Sol in 2020 and said her path was unclear, having completed high school during the start of the pandemic, she said. That’s when her stepmom told her about the flexibility offered at Rio Salado.
“It’s a lot more flexible than I thought it was going to be,” the political science major said. Having moved around while growing up, she found Rio Salado to be just the place to put down some roots.
“Community is a huge thing in my life,” she said. “Being a part of something like this community is a big thing.”
Rio Salado College’s footprint on the Tempe community goes beyond its building on 14th Street. The college also offers adult education courses at Rio Salado College Southern and partnerships that provide employee training for Freedom Financial Network, Go Daddy, Salt River Project and State Farm Insurance. In addition, hundreds of students in Tempe Union High School District and Tempe Preparatory High School earn dual enrollment credit each year.
It's an important factor for the community, Woods said.
“Education is a key constant to everything we do in Tempe,” Woods said.
Woods, whose mom spent 35 years as a New York City educator, shared the city’s desire to reach the goal of post-secondary degree attainment for 65 percent of the community.
“We do believe with the City of Tempe and three school districts and Rio Salado College and ASU that we should be able to rise above and meet Achieve 65,” Woods said. “That states volumes about who we want to be and our community and why we want to deepen this partnership.”
President Smith shared about the college’s goal to increase microcredential opportunities for students, which will help future workers obtain the skills and competencies needed to get employed right away.
The event finished with a tour of the campus, including KJZZ, which is celebrating 70 years of service to Arizona.
“I think it is clear there is a great deal of synergy between our college and the city,” Smith said.