MCCCD to Launch a Workforce and Economic Development Office to better meet workforce and industry needs

Jan, 28 2020


Equipping job-seekers with skills needed to succeed in today’s workforce is at the core of the mission of the Maricopa Community Colleges. There is an ever-increasing focus on the ability to respond quickly to the needs of the community and business partners to develop solutions for the workforce and to ensure students have opportunities in the most in-demand fields.

The Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) Workforce and Economic Development Office assists students with obtaining optimal training and preparation for careers. As part of a new structure, the District has decided to consolidate its various workforce-development efforts under a single centralized office, led by Darcy Renfro as Chief Workforce and Economic Development Officer. This new approach is adapting to how the Colleges train students so that they are well prepared for today’s and tomorrow’s jobs.

Ms. Renfro most recently served as Chief of Staff to MCCCD Chancellor Maria Harper-Marinick. She has served as Governor Janet Napolitano’s policy advisor for workforce, economic development, and higher education and worked at various education non-profits, helping to shape statewide efforts such as the Arizona Education Progress Meter and Achieve60AZ. Ms. Renfro serves on multiple business and community boards, including Achieve60AZ, Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, and Phoenix IDA.

The new Workforce and Economic Development Office will consolidate the functions of the Maricopa Corporate College (MCOR), Maricopa Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) and Arizona SBDC Network, and the District’s Workforce Development Office, as well as the coordination of system-wide initiatives such as Maricopa Industry Institutes. This consolidation will give external partners a central point of contact for providing the community with workforce development guidance and the development of programs and partnerships invaluable to meeting Arizona’s workforce needs.

The creation of a consolidated division will enable the District to combine the strengths of several areas and improve communication to better serve the needs of both employers and community partners. These changes most significantly affect senior managers reporting directly to Ms. Renfro, as well as redefining the scope and strategic priorities of the affected departments.

“If we, as an institution, want to continue to have an impact on our community, we must establish structures that enable us to move with the speed and expertise required to meet the needs of a rapidly-changing economy. Determining a better, more systemic framework, will remove confusion and inefficiencies that are created by silos, and leverage our incredible talent in each of these departments under one umbrella,” said Darcy Renfro. “It is a tremendous honor to lead this office.”

MCCCD’s training and certifications account for 95 percent of the most in-demand jobs in Arizona. With over 30 programs, 100 plus degrees and certificates, and hundreds of courses to choose from, available both on-campus and online, students can find their best path forward. Providing business and industry partners a central point of entry into MCCCD resources will maximize the effectiveness and responsiveness and better meet the needs of Arizona’s workforce. This approach will ultimately strengthen these divisions, and therefore MCCCD’s role within the District and community.

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