June 2015

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sponsored the program since Garrett Hurt was a student at CAC in 1993. "Bo has donated equipment over the years and provided scholarships; and he's hired from our program. "Vermeer Southwest has been on our team since Day 1 basically," said Hurt. Hurt also has an Advisory Board in place that meets every spring and also less formally in the fall. Helmich says the benefits of having these business partners is that the school is regularly plugged in to what skills the local industry is seeking. "We need to know what they're looking for in future employees and make sure that our curriculum is lined up with what they need," she said. In fact, from her executive perspective, being an AED accred- ited school all boils down to jobs, good jobs. CAC is a tax-supported community college, so Helmich answers to a publicly elected board – and even as Commencement neared, she was preparing detailed rationales for increased funding requests. "My goal is that I'm trying to create an educated workforce in Pinal County, and these are high paying jobs, not jobs where people are making minimum wage," she said. "And so that's a very important thing to me personally because unless we can prove to our taxpayers that students are getting good jobs, and are going to help with the burden of the tax to the college, then they're not interested in supporting it. "It's just a complete circle," she continued. "And the higher you can raise your standards in the national accreditation means that there's more benefit for the student. e student can go anywhere. I hope they stay here in Pinal County, but they could go anywhere in the country and use their skills." As the wife of a John Deere light-equipment mechanic and the daugh- ter of a former plumber, Helmich has a special ("Living Proof – AED Accreditation Works!" continued from page 29) >> WORKFORCE SOLUTIONS 30 | www.cedmag.com | Construction Equipment Distribution | June 2015 "Ever since we became accredited out enrollment is starting to increase," said Garrett Hurt, who's proudly standing beneath CAC's AED accreditation signage.

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