Career Pathways Small Business Sector

In 2015, Pima Leasing & Financing Corporation was awarded a plaque “In Appreciation for [their] Hard Work and Dedication to the Employment Department’s Career Pathways Initiative” in the Gila River Indian Community. The Career Pathways Small Business Sector was the first of its kind in Indian Country and included a diverse array of experiences for its participants.

In May of 2014, 11 students embarked on a yearlong plan of study where students received a certificate of completion (CCL) from Chandler Gilbert Community College in Small Business Start-Up. The partnership with Chandler Gilbert Community College was the first of its kind, whereby the majority of instruction was given by Community member business owners (Kowee Coffee owner Michael Preston, Anika Evans, owner of Web Spurs) and Community entity employees (Niki Ramirez, WHPDA & Sierra Ward, PLFC).

The partnership also included the Arizona State University American Indian Policy Institute’s First Innovations tailored curriculum taught by Native American professor, Dr. Fonda Walters (Navajo/Dine). This was a three-day workshop, again, where successful GRIC business owners were integrated into the curriculum for their insight and expertise (Cher Thomas). In addition, participants took tours of GRIC member owned businesses and sat with successful GRIC business owners at Q&A meetings (Pimmex’s Carlos Munoz and VMK Janitorial Supply’s Matt Kisto).