YUMA, Arizona — Yuma Multiversity Campus Corporation (YMVC) has received support from the Arizona-Mexico Commission (AMC) to promote community engagement and participation in its strategic planning process.
“We are pleased to support this bi-national, bulti-state, impactful project to promote cross-border educational programs and initiatives among the numerous institutions of higher education in the region,” stated Jessica Pacheco, President of the AMC Board of Directors.
YMVC recently completed a 16-month strategic planning process with the goal of developing a regional plan for higher education and workforce development in the Greater Yuma Region.
The Greater Yuma Region is a four-state, bi-national area that includes Yuma County, AZ, Imperial County, CA, US, Mexicali, BN, and San Luis Rio Colorado, SO, MX.
“Over 250 individuals representing education, industry, young professionals, elected officials, and other stakeholder groups participated in an assessment process through a series of focus groups, surveys, and individual meetings,” stated YMVC President/CEO Jim Schuessler.
With assistance of a group of national consultants, YMVC conducted a strategic assessment and market analysis of the region with the goal of developing strategies and programs to improve higher educational access and outcomes in the region. Acting on the findings and recommendations of the consultants and with the insights provided by the region’s stakeholders, the YMVC Board of Directors adopted a Strategic Framework Plan that will guide YMVC’s efforts going forward.
“Our purpose is to use the findings and the recommendations in the Plan to help transform the region and to position it to compete successfully in the innovation economy. In the end, our goal is to improve educational and employment opportunities for the region’s residents,” observes YMVC Board Chair, Russell McCloud. “To do this we need to share the results of the Plan with the region and to engage community, business, and educational leaders in implementing the key recommendations.”
The Strategic Plan Framework will be presented in a series of bilingual public meetings in early January of 2023. Participation will include YMVC’s Board of Directors, a regional steering committee, industry and education councils, elected officials, and other stakeholders to provide information on the implementation phase of the project.
“We are proud to collaborate and partner with AMC in our outreach efforts. The funds from AMC will help to cover the costs of holding the public meetings and will help to ensure that we will have participation from all four states on both sides of the border,” added YMVC Vice Chair, Paul Brierley.
“The future of the Greater Yuma Region is very bright,” stated Schuessler. “We have some competitive advantages including a strategic location along the US-Mexico border and national leadership in industries such agriculture and defense. Our population growth and low median age provide us with a great advantage for future economic development.”
However, as Schuessler observed, “there are several issues that are hampering success, including a shortage of skilled labor to meet tech industry needs both now and in the future.”
Schuessler noted that regional companies employ skilled workers requiring advanced degrees and that many would prefer to hire people from the region, provided they have the necessary skills. It’s been a constant theme from human resource directors that there is a desire to hire locally if we can develop the talent here in the Greater Yuma Region,” he added.
YMVC’s mission is to be a collaborative organization, bridging higher education, industry and prospective talent to provide the means to achieve skilled careers of today and the future. By increasing local access to higher education and improved outcomes, Greater Yuma can expect increased wage potential, lower unemployment and underemployment, increased sustainability, and a thriving population.