By Michael Nilsson, NPC Staff Writer
With innovative programs and newly-funded staff, Northland Pioneer College [NPC] sees success as it helps students transition from college life to entering valuable careers in energy and manufacturing.
NPC is one of five Arizona community colleges to receive a Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) federal grant, which resulted in the creation of the Arizona Sun Corridor – Get into Energy Consortium (ASC-GIEC) to prepare students for careers in energy and mining.
ASC-GIEC assists students entering degree programs serving as a workforce pipeline in response to new demands in the energy industry. John Spadaccini, an on-campus career coach with NPC, explains the consortium is a tool that is “all about job development. It’s bringing this transformational change in how services are provided to students, all through revisions in curriculum and the delivery of career-readiness programs.”
Spadaccini, whose position is funded through the “energy grant,” wears many hats at NPC. Spadaccini’s responsibilities include recruiting eligible students for the program, assisting them complete their degree, career coaching and assisting in finding related work upon graduation. Eligible students range from TAA Eligible Workers (displaced workers whose jobs were moved overseas) to veterans.
One recent example of a student who has seen success is Nick Chase, a first-year student at NPC currently enrolled in the Industrial Maintenance and Operations (IMO) program. Chase is a recent hire at the Nestle-Purina plant in Flagstaff, and feels lucky for the employment opportunity. “The job is great, it was just what I was hoping for,” says Chase. “In my job interview I was asked a lot about my education and I was able to talk about the classes and all the help I got from NPC.”
Chase further explained saying, “Really, the biggest help I got was from John [Spadaccini]. He conveyed there was an opening at Purina and gave me tips and help on how to go about it.” To help students be qualified for the job opening at Nestle-Purina, Spadaccini assisted in developing student-employer relationships and provided tools and coaching to have more successful interviews and résumés.
For Chase, the process of going from student to employee first started with Nestle-Purina participating in a job fair hosted by NPC. To follow up, Kenny Keith, NPC’s IMO program coordinator, along with other instructors, took students (including Chase) on a tour of the Nestle-Purina plant in Flagstaff. Chase was then able to receive coaching on interview techniques by Spadaccini. “Without John and NPC, I don’t think I would have gotten the job, or even know about it in the first place,” says Chase.
Four other positions are also funded by the grant and assist NPC in providing additional training and instruction to students. These positions include a grant coordinator, two instructors, and a lab technician. For more information on the “Arizona Sun Corridor – Get into Energy Consortium” and its partnership with NPC, please go to www.az.getintoenergy.com/northland-pioneer-college or contact John Spadaccini at (800) 266-7845, ext. 7454.
To find out more about the IMO and Mechatronics programs at NPC, please contact an academic adviser at a campus or center nearest you. Northland Pioneer College serves the residents of Navajo and Apache counties through four regional campuses and five centers with a variety of educational options for academic, career and technical and personal enrichment. For more information about these NPC programs and services, call (800) 266-7845.