Pima JTED Opens New Industrial Technologies Addition

Tool of the Trade

Pima Joint Technical Education District, a boon for regional workforce development, recently celebrated another advancement in its effort to offer crucial career skills to students. 

On May 2, joined by Tucson Mayor Regina Romero and more than 100 guests, Pima JTED celebrated the grand opening of its Bridges Campus Industrial Technologies Addition, including the Shirley Dail Construction Classroom and Lab presented by the Cornerstone Building Foundation.

Thanks to a $100,000 gift from the Cornerstone Building Foundation and a $1.9 million gift from the Thomas R. Brown Private Family Foundation, JTED’s industrial technologies programs—construction, welding, robotics, and engineering—now have a new 3,400-square-foot shared space outfitted with CNC machines and other high-tech tools to prepare students for success in the workforce.

“Businesses, community leaders, and educators not only see the value of providing the hands-on, work-based learning that we offer, so students can find success and contribute to the economy, but they’re also investing in it because this is an educational model that works for everyone,” said Kathy Prather, Pima JTED Superintendent and CEO.

“It means they care about the program and they want people going into the workforce. It’s comforting to think—hey, they want me here and they’re supporting me,” said Ami Petz, a Tucson High School student and president of the Construction SkillsUSA student organization.

Pima JTED provides more than 60 career and technical education programs to approximately 27,000 high school students each year at its central and satellite campuses. Thousands of those students earn industry certifications in the trades each year and quickly secure high-paying jobs.

“Young people who are entering the construction trades today are thriving, they are loving what they do, and they are graduating with little student debt. They are graduating with the skills and experience necessary to take on good jobs,” said Romero.

The late Shirley Dail, who started Shirley’s Plan Service in 1982, was known as the “Leading Lady in Tucson Construction.” She was one of the first women in construction in Southern Arizona and encouraged many young women to enter the field by establishing the National Association of Women in Construction, Tucson Chapter. 

Fred Dail said his mother would be doing “a jig,” knowing that so many students who enroll at JTED will be able to enter the construction trades with such remarkable skills and confidence.

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