/ Modified apr 12, 2023 8:20 p.m.

Army and Cochise County team up for education

They want to keep more young people in Sierra Vista.

Ft. H Garrison Commander Fort Huachuca Garrison Commander Colonel John Ives (left) and Cochise County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jacqui Clay (right) chat about their ideas about enhancing workforce and educational opportunities in Cochise County.
Summer Hom, AZPM

Cochise County Superintendent of Schools and Fort Huachuca’s Garrison Commander are teaming up to facilitate more educational and workforce opportunities for Cochise County.

Fort Huachuca’s Garrison Commander Colonel John Ives and Cochise County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jacqui Clay are beginning to break ground on a collaboration between the Fort and the County on fostering, retaining, and recruiting young professionals to the area.

For Dr. Clay, who’s a retired Army Command Sergeant Major, it’s about targeting K-20 students — students from kindergarten through college — and nurturing a relationship between the school districts and the Fort.

“So somehow we’re going to be collating and matching what’s going on in the schools across the county, and partnering with organizations in Fort Huachuca, so that students, again, will be validated,” said Clay. “Because they're in school now, but you know, they have to look over that wall, over the wall into the world.”

“The big thing is sustainability, sustainability with our kids,” she continued.

For Colonel Ives, it’s about drawing the attention of high school students, college students, and skilled professionals to the civil service opportunities available on base and bridging the gap between school and the workforce by having professionals to guest teach in the schools.

“The future of Fort Huachuca is really in the Multi-Domain Operations Range, and what that means is we’ll be operating inside the electromagnetic spectrum,” Ives said. “And when you talk about operating inside that, then you talk about signals, you talk about physicists, we’re talking about electrical engineering.”

Colonel Ives explained that traditional military control has expanded beyond air, land, and sea and into cyber, space, and the electromagnetic spectrum — which requires the control of cyber and space simultaneously.

He said that combining that with Fort Huachuca’s land, restricted airspace, and the Tombstone Military Operating Airspace — which allows the fort to have expanded airspace for training to the New Mexico border — the military installation becomes the only Multi-Domain Operations Range Training Complex authorized in the United States.

Colonel Ives said that this will bring a variety of workforce opportunities that the Fort will be looking to fill.

“We’re going to be bringing all kinds of capabilities to Fort Huachuca as the future continues to unfold,” said Ives. “That means that we will have all kinds of jobs ranging from everything from tourism and hospitality — which we do have on the installation — all the way through physicists that are going to be helping design some of these capabilities that we’re going to be executing on this range.”

Both have said the partnership is in its beginning stages, so no formal agreement or funds have been assigned yet. Dr. Clay said that she’s going to survey the local school district superintendents in June for what they’d like to see from the collaboration.

“We’re working on the superintendents’ roundtable, where we’re going to look at all the top five educational concerns,” Clay said. “And what we’re going to do is have Colonel Ives talk about what’s going on on Fort Huachuca during that roundtable.”

Colonel Ives said that the roots of the partnership began upon looking at the Fort’s strategic plan; he noticed that input from education professionals in the area was missing.

“Especially if you’re going to talk about the things that bring people to a community, that is hospitals, housing, fun stuff to do, education,” said Ives. “Those are the big pieces that everybody needs in order to choose an area they want to live in … How do we expand beyond Sierra Vista and into Douglas, Bisbee, and all the other towns that we tend to not focus on because they are not right outside of our gates. So building a community is building a community with Cochise County, not just Sierra Vista.”

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