SouthWest Aligns Under GateWay


After more than a year of planning and implementing, the operational oversight of the SouthWest Skill Center (SWSC) has completely transitioned to the Trade and Technical Training Division, formerly Maricopa Skill Center, at GateWay Community College (GWCC). Estrella Mountain Community College (EMCC) oversaw day-to-day operations previously.

The organizational move allows for consistent coordination and cohesion of clock hour offerings throughout the Maricopa County Community College District. Clock hour offerings through GateWay are programs that are aligned with local and regional occupational industry needs. The programs are short-term, hands-on and lead to industry certifications.

Discussions to make the change started in January 2017, with the goal to fully complete the transition by July 1, 2018.

Several years ago the decision was made to separate SWSC and then Maricopa Skill Center under two colleges, but with the transformation work, it made sense for the clock programs to be brought back together under one institution, according to Steven Gonzales, GateWay president and team lead for the Industry Partnerships Transformation team. 

“After several months of planning by many at both colleges, a decision to move forward with the implementation in January 2018 was precipitated by the transformation efforts, with complete transition by July 1, 2018,” said Gonzales.

As part of the transition period for this structural change, employees and students were notified of the change during Fall 2017.

“Students who were enrolled in programs that started during 2017 finished as SWSC/EMCC students,” said Paula Livingston, interim dean of Instruction/Occupational Education at EMCC. “For programs starting after Jan. 2, 2018, those students were under the SWSC/GWCC umbrella.”

While students now enroll under a different college, the transition has been meant to be a seamless experience for students, according to CJ Wurster, Trade and Technical Training dean at GWCC.

“Our goal during the last six months and always is student success, and we have been committed to providing the services needed, regardless of where students registered,” said Wurster.

Any supervisory, program and/or process changes impacting current SWSC employees was shared with the SWSC team. There were no layoffs due to this organizational change.

For now, the SouthWest Skill Center name will remain the same and will continue to operate on the EMCC campus located at 3000 N. Dysart Road in Avondale.

For questions, contact (623) 535-2700.

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