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Grants for single moms in Tucson offer paid Pima College technical certificates

Single mothers in Tucson can earn a technical education certificate from Pima Community College under a grant program offered by the Women’s Foundation and YWCA of Southern Arizona. The program, with a goal of boosting wages for single moms, also offers a stipend and childcare support for preschool kids.

Pathways for Single Moms will pay tuition for PCC certificates in automated industrial technology, IT support and building and construction technology. Each of the programs has a hybrid in-person/virtual format and lasts 12 months. The building and construction technology program can last up to 16 months.

Moms also get help with money and childcare. Additional benefits of the program include:

  • A $700 monthly stipend while earning the certificate
  • Coaching and career planning help
  • Internship opportunities at PCC
  • Networking opportunities with local industry leaders
  • Access to up to $400 in emergency funds
  • Scholarships for pre-K and assistance with enrollment

More than 70,000 single mothers across the state work full-time but don't have college degrees, with the most common jobs they hold paying less than $30,000 in median wages, the Women's Foundation for the State of Arizona said.

The aim of the program is “rebuilding the workforce with women in mind after COVID.”

Single moms can apply online, but the process also requires:

  • An interview with the Women’s Foundation
  • Enrollment in one of the three eligible PCC programs
  • Completing a YWCA student preparation course or a similar assessment by PCC
  • Attending a information session on basic educational skills by PCC and an orientation by the Women’s Foundation
  • Approval from Pima County One-Stop

Pima County One-Stop approval requires interviewing with an Arizona@Work office to enroll to receive pre-K scholarships. The One-Stop process will ask about household income and what other needs an applicant might need.

After being accepted to the program, a United Way program called Valley of the Sun will also step in to interview the applicant to determine any additional needs

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The certification program also offers support for transportation expenses, getting internet and a laptop and rental assistance. Moms could be referred to JobPath to find work and other community groups based on their needs.

Pathways for Single Moms will be a permanent program that will be offered twice annually to enroll during both the spring and the fall. WFSA expects to expand the program into Phoenix and other parts of Arizona.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misattributed which nonprofit group reported the figures related to single mothers without degrees, and plans to expand the grant program across the state.

Bennito L. Kelty is TucsonSentinel.com’s IDEA reporter, focusing on Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access stories, and a Report for America corps member supported by readers like you.

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