Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego speaking at the launch of the Route to Relief Program at Gateway Community College.

With seven million dollars from American Rescue Plan COVID relief funding, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, the Phoenix City Council, and Maricopa County Community Colleges have launched the Route to Relief Program, an education initiative that will both help post-secondary students impacted by the Coronavirus and provide highly skilled workers to the industries that are propelling the fifth largest city in the country to a leading technology Mecca.


In this program, eligible students would be able to:

  • Attend approved courses tuition free. This assistance, which also includes course fees and books will amount to up to $5,000.00
  • Obtain monthly stipends of up to $1,500 which could be applied toward child care and transportation.
  • Receive employment assistance in eligible programs.

The eligible programs include those in semiconductors, healthcare, bioscience, manufacturing, construction, information technology/cyber security, early childhood education, community health services, electric vehicle technician/technology, entrepreneurship and small business, and hospitality and tourism.

In the press release from the City of Phoenix, “the new Semiconductor Technician Quick Start, a two-week training program to expedite the development of skill sets needed to work in semiconductor manufacturing fabrication” was cited, relaying that “with the arrival of the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), Mayor Gallego has made clear her plans for Phoenix to become an international hub for semiconductor manufacturing. The Quick Start program is one way to fill the pipeline with workers ready to advance into this rising industry.”

Commenting on this program that will move Phoenix forward, modernize local educational opportunities, make the city a major technological hub, and provide many residents with high-paying, quality jobs, Mayor Gallego stated:

“While Phoenix achieved remarkable success in economic development, even during the pandemic, too many of our residents were severely burdened by lost employment and scarce opportunity during that same time period. To make our success sustainable, we must ensure education and training is available to people in every part of the city. By engaging with the MCCCD system, we are providing people with the opportunity to find their own success in these emerging fields.”

Phoenix Vice Mayor Laura Pastor offered:

“As someone who has spent their career in education, I understand how critical the connection is between quality training and a lifelong career path. The partnership between Maricopa Community Colleges and the City of Phoenix will create a talented workforce pipeline that will act as a magnet for our existing companies and will help to attract new knowledge economy jobs while providing Phoenix residents beneficial career opportunities.”

Dr. Steven R. Gonzales, the Interim Chancellor of the Maricopa Community Colleges commented:

“The Maricopa Community Colleges is thrilled to launch this innovative partnership with the City of Phoenix to better meet the city’s workforce development goals and provide life-changing opportunities for residents. Investing in workforce development initiatives, like this one, to support targeted industries like healthcare, manufacturing, and bioscience will yield a generous return. It has been an honor to partner with visionary leaders like Mayor Gallego and the Phoenix City Council to develop this.”

Photo from the office of Mayor Kate Gallego.

To be eligible to apply for the Route to Relief Program, students must demonstrate at least one way from the below conditions how the Coronavirus impacted them.

• Household income is reduced due to lost wages or reduced work hours
• Currently is or has been unemployed
• Qualified for unemployment or pandemic insurance benefits
• Laid off or furloughed from job
• Stopped working to care for a sick household member
• Loss of child or spousal support
• Stopped working to care for children home from school or daycare

Students can receive funds for this program starting this month (July 2022.) The program will last until December 2024.

Please click here if you are interested in applying for the Route to Relief Program.