Last week, I welcomed one dozen students from the Universidad Tecnológica de Chile, better known as INACAP, to Downtown Campus. INACAP is the largest and most diverse university and technical education system in the South American nation, and these Automotive Technology students are at Downtown for an intensive week-long training in Engine Diagnosis and Repair.
Like our other collaborations with Latin American countries, such as the SEP-Bécalos-Santander Universidades International Program, the Chilean students’ visit supports President Obama’s 100,000 Strong in the Americas initiative. The objective of 100,000 Strong is to increase the number of U.S. students studying in Latin America to 100,000, and the number of Latin American students in the U.S. to 100,000 by 2020. The ultimate goal is to increase hemispheric competitiveness and prosperity by developing a globally conscious and culturally competent workforce.
The visit is a first for PCC – it’s the first time we have hosted international students in career and technical fields – and we have stepped up to provide the best-possible training for our guests. We located instructors to deliver the course in Spanish and we translated the curriculum into Spanish in-house.
Lisa Nutt and Daisy Rodriguez Pitel from our International Student Services Office have gone above and beyond to create activities to make the groups feel comfortable and welcomed here. Downtown Campus Dean of Business, Occupational, and Professional Programs Greg Wilson has been instrumental in putting the technical training pieces in place, and Ricardo Castro-Salazar, in his leadership role as Acting Vice President for International Development, has outlined a clear, wide-ranging vision for expanding global education at the College.
Historically, athletics has been an avenue for spanning cultures, as encapsulated in the motto of the 2008 Olympics, “One world, one dream.” The reality is that education is a key aspect of the bridge that can connect cultures in a long-term, sustainable sense. Pima Community College is proud to be part of a hemisphere-spanning initiative that can expand global awareness and aid economic development.