MSC and GateWay Partner with Year Up

Mar 11, 2015, 1:15 p.m.

Maricopa Skill Center and GateWay Community College have partnered up with Year Up, a professional training corps that helps young people gain an education and experience to realize their true potential, this spring and are offering Gateway courses at the Maricopa Skill Center Buckeye campus.

The first cohort of students started in January with 35 students who chose a path in either Computer Programming or Business Operations.

While pursuing either track, students enroll in GateWay classes and take professional skills classes taught by Year Up staff members. Additionally, every student has a Year Up coach, a staff member who provides support throughout the program.

Juan Carlos De La Torre was a student at GateWay when he heard about Year Up.

“I decided to apply to the program because I didn’t really have a direction with my life,” shared De La Torre. “I was stuck between majors and did not know what I wanted to do.”

De La Torre had always had an interest in computers but did not really see how he could turn that into a career. He had enrolled in GateWay for the Medical Radiography program.

“I was really looking at that career mainly because the money interested me, but after half way through the semester I realized that it is not just about the money, I have to enjoy what I am doing,” De La Torre said.

Through Year Up, De La Torre has realized how much he likes computer programming and looks forward to continuing his education after completing Year Up.

After the first six months in Year Up, students are in the Learning Development Phase. In that phase, students will learn the technical and professional skills needed to move into an internship.

“We prepare students for careers in computer programming and business operations through rigorous training and internships with top companies, and then we support them in launching their careers,” said Caitlin MacDonald, Year Up Interim Executive Director.

During the internship phase students work 35 hours a week at a company and continue to take one technical class at GateWay and one professional class at Year Up.

“Students will earn up to 30 credits plus a certificate in their chosen track, and will be on their way to earning their associate degree,” MacDonald added.

Currently, Maricopa Skill Center is the only location in Arizona for Year Up but they are excited about the future.

“The partnership has been fantastic,” said MacDonald. “The faculty and staff have embraced our program, supported us in recruiting an amazing first class, and provided relevant skills training that will prepare them well for the internships and careers that are ahead of them.”

Maricopa Skill Center and Year Up share a common vision to provide skill training that students can take into the workplace.

“This is a very exciting partnership for us,” said Maricopa Skill Center Executive Director, Al Larson. “The role of the Maricopa Skill Center is to prepare students for employment and to be successful in the work place. Year Up has a mission that compliments this role and sets the bar high for our programs.”

Year Up is currently recruiting 80 students for their next class starting in August.

To be eligible applicants must be 18-24 years old; have a high school diploma or GED; and be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or have an employment authorization card.

March 31 is the priority deadline for students who are currently enrolled in the Maricopa Community Colleges system. Applicants do not have to be enrolled and previous college experience is not a requirement.

Those interested should apply at