An increase in classes this semester could mean big things for the local Central Arizona College Extension Center in Coolidge.
“Coolidge is the fastest growing site at CAC,” Barbara Encinas, Coordinator of Community Outreach for CAC said. “It’s really exciting.”
Encinas, a veteran educator and has very high hopes for the Coolidge site. She has a genuine interest in the education of the students and their futures.
“There is so much available to the students in Pinal County at CAC and specifically in Coolidge,” Encinas said. “We just want to make sure everyone knows what we have to offer the community.”
The Coolidge site can offer advising, testing, proctoring as well many classes. Students can take entrance exams, study for those exams, or simply come by to get advice on classes. Among the classes offered are Criminology, Business Relations, English Composition and Pre-Algebra to name a few.
In addition to the full-service extension office, the Coolidge site has a computer lab, which is open Monday-Friday, 8-4:30 p.m., that is available for students to take tests, work on classes or even research their future career.
“We encourage students to make an appointment to come in and see us,” Encinas said. “But we also will take walk-ins for sure.”
The Coolidge site has had a 4,000 percent increase since they opened 5 years ago, which is a fact that Encinas and the staff are excited about.
Encinas has been with CAC in Coolidge for two years. Before CAC, she worked for Pima Community College and Sunnyside High School. So she understands the value of education, and what CAC has to offer people in the community.
“We can be an asset to the community for young students and adults wanting to have a fresh start,” Encinas said. “I just don’t know how many people actually know we are here.”
Another exciting opportunity is CAC’s “Promise for the Future” program. The students simply need to sign an agreement in eighth grade that they will go to CAC when they graduate from high school, maintain a 2.75 grade point average and in turn, the first four semesters tuition are paid.
“I was in on the ground level with that program,” Encinas said. “I’m amazed that more students and their families don’t take advantage of the program.”
Encinas explained that with the high cost of student loans and with the economy being in the shape it’s in, you have to take advantage of these programs when you can.
The Coolidge site is quiet and a great place to come by and examine some of the resources that CAC has to offer, without heading to the big campus. The opportunity for the one-on-one advisement from a professional is time well spent.
“Coolidge is such a great community and it feels like the city and the schools want to see the students achieve their fullest potential,” Encinas said. “That’s where I come in. I see where the student is at, and where they want to be, and we figure out together how we are going to get there.”
Central Arizona College Coolidge Center is at 168 S. Main Street. For more information you can reach Barbara at (520) 494-6702.