Jul 26, 2012 10:30 AM

Federal grant helps UA grad jumpstart engineering career

TUCSON- A recent University of Arizona grad is well on her way to a successful engineering career, in part thanks to a federal grant helping high tech workers in Southern Arizona.

Twenty-three-year-old Yazmin Farias graduated from the UA in May 2012 with an engineering degree. During her senior year she began interning at a company that makes airline equipment called Universal Avionics. Today she works there as a Manufacturing Continuous Improvement Project Engineer.

It's a big title that took a lot of hard work to earn, but the Southern Arizona Technical Career Pathways Grant, worth $1.3 million, helped Farias along the way.

"It was a huge economic boost for me," Farias says.

The grant helped pay for half of Farias' tuition her last semester at the UA, about $2,500. "It was extremely helpful," Farias says. "I have a lot of student loan debt, so I was able to reduce all my interest."

The grant was designed to move U.S. citizens into jobs currently held by foreign workers. The goal is to graduate about 200 people across Southern Arizona, all going for a four year degree. "Employers are constantly telling us that one of the big issues they have with developing and moving forward themselves is the lack of a skilled workforce," says Jim Mize of the Pima County One Stop.

Mize says the grant will be a much needed boost in Pima County, where the unemployment rate is at 8.2%. "It will help the living standards in Pima County, but it will also help employers who spend an enormous amount of money trying to recruit from out of the area to get engineers," Mize says.

The grant is good through November 2015 across Pima County, Yuma County, Santa Cruz County and Cochise County.

To learn more you can call the Pima Co. One Stop at (520) 243-6703.


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