Arizona Western College has announced they will have in-person, hands-on trade classes available in La Paz County starting in the 2021-22 school year. At the AWC Governing Board’s annual meeting in Parker Jan. 20, Robin Cooper, speaking on behalf of Associate Dean for La Paz County Katheline Ocampo, said they will be offering construction trades and automotive classes.

Cooper, the Administrative and Learning Support Assistant for La Paz County, said these courses would reflect the college responding to the needs of the community. She said students could work towards their trade certificates. She added the college is looking for automotive instructors.

One of the Board’s representatives from La Paz County, Ken McFarland, said he was thrilled and very happy to see the college would be offering automotive classes.

“I’ve been pushing for that for years,” he said. “And we got it at my first board meeting!”

McFarland was elected to the Board in November 2020.

Earlier in the meeting, the Board discussed expanding college-credit courses available to high school students. This was in regard to discussion of expanding the culinary arts classes. La Paz County’s other Board Member, Richard Lamb, asked if there would be any restrictions on students from Salome High School taking these classes.

AWC’s Dr. Diane Corrasco, who was at the meeting, and Retika Dhawan, who was appearing via the Internet, both said there would be no restrictions on Salome students.

McFarland remarked that Salome High has an excellent culinary arts program.

“I know,” he said. “I’ve eaten their food there.”

In another matter, AWC’s President, Dr. Daniel Corr, said the coronavirus pandemic was affecting the school. He told the board enrollment was down by 20 percent at the start of the school year over the start of the previous school year. He said that was an improvement as they had been down by 23 percent at one point. He said declining enrollment at colleges can be found all across the state.

“We’re just like the other community colleges in the state,” he said.

Corr said the college is expecting stimulus funds in the next of government funding over the pandemic, but the college won’t know what the rules for such funding will be for 60 to 90 days.

Cooper introduced the school’s Students of the Month for La Paz County. They were two freshmen:  Brandon Bojorquez and Jason Puhuyesva. Both spoke of how their families supported their desire to get an education, and how grateful they were for the opportunities that had been offered to them.

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