image of testing station in West-MEC testing center

CERTIFICATION TESTING CENTER AT WEST-MEC OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Glendale, Ariz. (Sep. 14, 2020) Western Maricopa Education Center (West-MEC)–a public career technical education district-reopens its Testing Center to the public. 

West-MEC has partnerships with Certiport and PearsonVUE to provide a convenient and secure testing site for certification and licensure exams. Conveniently located just off the 101 freeway at 5405 N. 99th Avenue in Glendale, there are over 200 certification options available to community members. 

Popular certification options include: 

  • American Medical Technologists Registered Medical Assistant 
  • ACSM Certified Professional Trainer
  • CIW JavaScript Specialist
  • Pharmacy Technician Certification Board 
  • QuickBooks Certified User
  • Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA)
  • Adobe Certified Associate (ACA)

Community members should schedule their appointment directly through the Testing Agencies:

PearsonVue: https://home.pearsonvue.com/

Certiport: https://certiport.pearsonvue.com/Certifications

West-MEC’s testing site is following all recommended CDC guidelines to ensure safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Image of tools from Starrett

STARRETT DONATES TOOLS FOR WEST-MEC PROGRAMS

Glendale, AZ (Sept. 15, 2020) – Starrett donated several thousand dollars worth of precision tools to West-MEC – a public career technical education district – for use in its many industry training programs.

Starrett, which has manufactured precision tools since 1880, is one of the country’s top producers. The tools will be used in West-MEC’s classrooms and training labs to enhance students’ experience and learning. The donation was made possible by West-MEC’s partnership with Snap-on Industrial Certification, which in turn partners with Starrett.

With tools such as digital depth micrometers to measure the depth of a mechanical part to .00001 of an inch, bore gages to measure inside hole diameters with high accuracy, and more, the donation will undoubtedly make for higher-quality instruction and demonstrations in West-MEC labs throughout its campuses.

“We try to keep everything at the industry’s level, and this type of tooling is what the students would be using there. So any time we can give the students real-world experiences it is a benefit to their education,” said West-MEC industry certification manager Frank Quinn.

“This will give our students the ability to use top-end professional tooling in the industry. That makes a difference.”

And, as many construction, tooling, and technology companies have been deemed essential businesses during the time of the coronavirus, Starrett has stayed strong in its production and distribution of tools, to the benefit of West-MEC students and staff.

“The company has remained globally operational, with a few exceptions, during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Starrett President and CEO Doug Starrett in a press release.” “Our supply chain has not been disrupted to any material extent and we remain well-positioned to respond to your needs.”

Image-Auto Technology students wearing masks

WEST-MEC WELCOMES STUDENTS BACK TO CAMPUS

Glendale, AZ (Sept. 10, 2020) – Following weeks of online learning, students at Western Maricopa Education Center’s four campuses returned to class for in-person instruction on Sept. 9. West-MEC welcomed around 3,000 students to finally experience campus and meet the other students in their individual career technical training programs.

Although donning masks and staying socially distant as much as possible, Wednesday felt like a true first day, back-to-school experience for students and staff alike.

“The students just breathe new life into the campus. That’s why we’re here, the energy they’ve brought in a short time, you can feel it,” said David Svorinik, Assistant Northeast Campus Administrator.

“They’re actively engaged, taking care of business and showing how motivated they are for the rest of the school year, and that’s promising to see.”

Caleb Rushing, a senior in West-MEC’s automotive technology program, even enjoyed getting to do mundane tasks like mopping the floor of the school’s car shop, knowing it was a step toward getting to actually work on cars again.

He said that he immediately felt “a different vibe” compared to the important-but-limited online learning environment.

“It’s just a whole other learning experience rather than watching YouTube videos on cars and online lessons.

You get to actually be there to walk through every single step of learning about the cars,” he said.

His instructor, automotive technician teacher Nick Shumaker, agreed.

“From digital and online to in-person learning, the connection with the students and seeing them actually here is

great. When they’re able to touch the tools and make that connection is when they’re really starting to learn,” Shumaker said.

For others like Alexia Schuyleman, a senior in the veterinary sciences program at West-MEC, the return to in-person learning is important, too.

For her, being in the classroom and labs is the reason she wanted to enroll at West-MEC in the first place.

“It’s amazing being back. We get that person-to-person connection with our teachers and classmates,” she

said. “And in this program it means hopefully we’ll be able to actually work the animals soon, too.”

Image of motorcycle in powersports lab

WEST-MEC LAUNCHES NEW POWERSPORTS PROGRAM AT SURPRISE CAMPUS

Surprise, AZ (Sep. 9, 2020) Twenty-one new students at West-MEC are set to begin in-person instruction as part of a newly-announced Powersports Technician certification program.

The two-year program at the approximately 8,000-square-foot facility in West-MEC’s Northwest campus in Surprise will provide students with the skills necessary to diagnose, fix, support, and maintain a variety of powersport vehicles.

Knowledge taken from lab work and classes with West-MEC powersports instructor Matt Still will range from the theory of combustion engines, fundamentals of electricity, brakes, and many other aspects that will help develop quality technicians able to excel in the industry, providing a pathway for alumni toward West-MEC’s goal of economic independence.

“This program has viability and this program has strength because companies have a need for skilled workers who can come out of their training ready to go. Our industry partners are everywhere, they’re all over the place, and I believe a lot of them are looking for workers,” Mr. Still said.

Before any first-year student even touched a tool in the lab, West-MEC staff had already brought in several vehicles, ranging from a BMW motorcycle, a jet ski, several golf carts, and more to allow program students a wide range of experience of engines and systems and knowledge about each.

And, Still says there is even more room for growth as the program expands and students and instructors are able to offer feedback.

“This inaugural class is going to be integral in helping me develop the program further along. We’re going to see the parts and look at what specialty tools and equipment we’re going to need to purchase down the line. And they’ll be doing it keeping a customer and employee mindset thinking about what they’ll need to do to be the best technicians possible when they’re done here,” Mr. Still said.

If the first-year program is as successful as he believes it will be, there could be a bright future ahead for powersports technicians at West-MEC.

“There was enough engagement and interest, even with COVID concerns, that we had 21 students of a max 25 that found out about it and wanted to know more and get learning in this lab space,” Still said. “So we figure with more exposure and another year, that next year there’s going to definitely be more demand for it.”

Save the Date Graphic: Sept. 18

WEST-MEC HOSTS FREE VIRTUAL EVENT FOR THE COMMUNITY

Surprise, AZ (August 13, 2020) Western Maricopa Education Center (West-MEC)–a public career technical education district–will host a free virtual event for residents to learn how the district supports its communities at the Northwest Campus in Surprise. 

“Working here at West-MEC, I feel as though I am making a difference in the lives of future generations as they get to discover their passion and pursue careers that will help them live the American Dream” states Northwest Campus Administrator, Holly Medina.

Hear success stories from a West-MEC parent and alumnus, along with an informative session led by West-MEC staff. The virtual event culminates in a live Q&A session and optional tour of the newly completed Northwest Campus. 

WHAT: Experience Orange Virtual Event

WHEN:  September 18, 2020 from 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM

Registration Link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/116660541821  

COST: Free

image of Fire Science students

WEST-MEC BEGINS FIRST ACE PROGRAM COHORT – PROVIDING COLLEGE PATHWAYS FOR STUDENTS

Glendale, AZ (August 19, 2020) Western Maricopa Education Center (West-MEC)–a public career technical education district–begins its first Achieving a College Education (ACE) Program cohort. 

Beginning with a small but mighty cohort of six Fire Science students, West-MEC has established its first ACE Program in partnership with Glendale Community College (GCC). Students accepted into the program have the opportunity to earn up to 24 free college credits within two years during their high school career which can be applied towards an AAS Fire Service Professional degree and a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies in Emergency Management at Northern Arizona University (NAU).

“I am VERY PROUD of our first ACE Program cohort, as they made their way through their summer class, under very difficult circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic. They had to work strictly online, completing their very first college class, CPD 150 Strategies for College Success, 3 college credits, without the in-person peer and adult mentoring & support that is typically a part of the ACE program.” – Speranta Klees, West-MEC Post-Secondary Partnerships Manager.

The ACE Program is intended to serve students that have certain risk factors for not enrolling or completing college. Students must be nominated for the program by a staff member and there are essay and testing requirements to fulfill prior to acceptance. Once accepted, participants are able to streamline their education in tandem with their training courses to best prepare themselves for a career in their field of choice. 

“Glendale Community College is excited to bring our ACE program to West-MEC.  We value this partnership but just as important is the opportunity to give students a head-start on their college education.”   Dr. Teresa Leyba Ruiz, President of Glendale Community College. 

This fall, West-MEC’s ACE Program students will start High School, the West-MEC Fire Science program at GCC, along with their ENG 101 course. A team of professionals from West-MEC, Glendale Community College, and Northern Arizona University provides guidance and support, ensuring student success in the program. 

West-MEC continues to pursue meaningful partnerships with post-secondary, businesses, and industry partners. 

About Glendale Community College:

Glendale Community College provides 41 Associates degrees, 61 certificate programs, and a range of non-degree offerings, all available to students in traditional, online, and hybrid formats.  Founded in 1965 to serve the northwestern part of the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, the college is part of the Maricopa County Community Colleges District, has two campuses, and enrolls approximately 26,000 students annually who are taught by world-class faculty.  For more information please visit gccaz.edu.

image of staff winner photos

WEST-MEC RECOGNIZES EMPLOYEE ACHIEVEMENTS IN CAREER TECHNICAL EDUCATION

Glendale, Ariz. (July 24, 2020) Western Maricopa Education Center (West-MEC)–a public career technical education district–celebrates staff members who were recognized for their contributions to Career Technical Education (CTE) by the Association for Career Technical Education of Arizona (ACTEAZ).

West-MEC is pleased to announce the achievements of the following esteemed staff members.

ACTEAZ Lifetime Achievement Award – John Mulcahy, West-MEC Assistant Superintendent for Professional Development and Adult Education 

ACTEAZ Administrator of the Year – Marilynn Babyar, West-MEC Director of Student Services

ACTEAZ Distinguished Service Award – Shelly Thome, West-MEC Exceptional Student Services Manager

The winners were personally notified of their award in addition to being posted on the ACTEAZ website https://www.acteaz.org/awards/2020-award-winners/.

West-MEC supports its staff members in taking an active role in State organizations that support public education and career technical education. In addition to the recognition of the award recipients, West-MEC is proud to announce the following staff members for their service on the ACTEAZ Executive Board. 

ACTEAZ President-Elect – Rahsaan Bartet, West-MEC Elementary and Community Liaison

ACTEAZ Vice President – Stephen Weltsch, West-MEC Assistant Superintendent for Teaching, Learning and Campus Operations

ACTEAZ Member at Large – Brady Mitchell, West-MEC Curriculum & Instruction Specialist

ACTEAZ is a nationally recognized leader working with the ACTE national organization to become a stronger voice in legislation and policymaking in support of Career Technical Education. For more information, visit https://www.acteaz.org

Photo: graduate waving from vehicle

West-MEC Hosts Unique Recognition Ceremonies During COVID-19 Pandemic

On May 28th and 29th, West-MEC celebrated it’s program completers for the 2019-20 school year. COVID-19 precautions changed our plans for hosting a traditional ceremony. Instead, our campus teams came together to celebrate our hard-working students with a special “Drive-Thru Ceremony”.

Our West-MEC program completers stand apart from the typical high school graduate. Our students are ahead of the curve and better prepared to go into the workforce or higher education.

To our dear graduates, none of this could have been accomplished without the support of others that believed in you to succeed. When you look around, you will find support everywhere. From the West-MEC Governing Board, our administration, to your fabulous instructors and finally your family. These people all put in the time, effort, and love into your success, especially during these unprecedented times.

We know this year has gone differently than any of us could’ve ever imagined. Yet, despite the challenges, we are proud of the resiliency of our West-MEC students to adapt to a new learning style and complete your programs.

As you go off to college, the military, and enter the workforce to build lives of your own, we challenge you and your family to share the story of what Career & Technical Education has done for you with all those you meet. We ask that you keep in touch with West-MEC. We want to continue to help you along your path. We need your stories of success. Your stories can help others learn of the opportunities that await them.

On behalf of the Governing Board and all of West-MEC, thank you for your hard work. We look forward to your bright future.

Congratulations class of 2020!