NAU partners with Empire Southwest, MCC to help employees get an education

Empire employees at work

Northern Arizona University has partnered with Empire Southwest and Mesa Community College to support the educational and professional advancement of Empire employees.

This partnership provides a convenient path for Empire employees to earn a professional certificate or an associate’s degree from MCC, then complete a bachelor’s degree in industrial leadership from NAU.

“NAU is excited to be part of this new partnership, and we look forward to inviting Empire Southwest employees into the industrial leadership bachelor’s completion program,” said Joy D’Angelo, industrial leadership program director. “Through our partnership, employees will sharpen their industrial workplace skills as they prepare for career advancement and leadership opportunities.”

With this partnership, Empire employees can receive college credits by completing 16 corporate training sessions from the Empire Training Institute. The credits can then be applied toward a certificate of completion (CCL) in organizational leadership or an associate of applied science (AAS) in organizational management through MCC.

After employees complete their coursework at MCC, they can transfer up to 90 college credits toward NAU’s industrial leadership 90/30 program. Employees can complete the remaining 10 NAU courses (30 credits) through NAU at Mesa Community College or online.

“At Empire, we realize the need to have employees with a wide variety of skills and talents. While we have a large percentage of our employee population in the skilled industrial trades, we also must continue to develop employees in all aspects of our business,” said Jim Smith, Empire’s executive vice president. “The partnership with MCC and NAU coupled with the large investments Empire has made in training and development programs is a win-win for all those who want to take advantage of this opportunity.”

NAU’s industrial leadership curriculum is designed to train future leaders who are employed in the fields of construction, manufacturing and production. The coursework incorporates relevant, real-world content while emphasizing communication, collaboration and teamwork. This program is available online and at convenient statewide locations, including NAU at Mesa Community College.

“Our faculty assessed the learning objectives of Empire training to match to our courses and as a result, we are now able to accelerate Empire employees’ opportunity to earn a degree at MCC with an established pathway to a bachelor’s program at NAU,” said Michael Voss, dean of career and technical education at MCC. “This collaboration with Arizona higher education creates a local option for Empire employees as an alternative to the company’s current agreement to send employees out of state to participate in advanced leadership training.”

The collaboration between Empire, MCC and NAU provides an efficient and cost-effective model for employees to improve their skills, expand their knowledge and earn their college degrees as they continue their career at Empire Southwest.

“A workforce with diverse skill sets is critical to Arizona’s new economy and we are grateful to our statewide community college and business partners for the comprehensive vision that allows us to advance successful programs,” said NAU President Rita Cheng. “At NAU, we recognize the quality learning experiences taking place at Empire. It is important that we incorporate this training into our degree programs to advance the education of working professionals. Our partnership with Mesa Community College makes this pathway a very affordable and streamlined experience for students.”