The Maricopa Skill Center had its humble beginnings as a few classrooms at Phoenix Union High School in 1962 under Russ Talbot, Director of Vocational Education. Classes in Electronic Assembly and Nurses Aide were conducted at the early MSC after President John Kennedy encouraged the passage of the Manpower Development and Training Act.
In 1964, John L. Peterson was hired as the Skill Center's first full-time Director. Peterson rented a former grocery store at the corner of 4th Street and Polk to provide additional classrooms for the Skill Center's growing repertoire of classes. Soon MSC was training stenographers, clerks, typists, draftsmen, printers, and dry cleaners.
Later that year, a portion of the first floor of a building at 246 South 1st Street became the Skill Center's home when classes in automotive, machining, upholstering, clothing construction, and GED preparation were added. The second floor was acquired in 1967 when MSC began Concentrated Employment Program (CEP) training that formed classes for high-demand occupations. At the same time, MSC's open-entry / open-exit concept was inaugurated.
Dr. Clifton Harkins served as Director beginning in 1968, and by the Fall of 1969 the third floor of the Skill Center was renovated. Around the same time, the Maricopa Skill Center became part of the Maricopa County Community College District.
To meet the growing demands for MSC's career training programs, a new larger building was acquired in 1977 where MSC's offerings expanded to include banking, business occupations, cashiering, culinary arts, health occupations, hospitality, machining, meat cutting, radio and television repair, and welding.
On July 1, 1986 MSC became a division of Maricopa Technical College (which became GateWay Community College in 1987). By its 27th birthday in 1989, MSC moved to a brand new 75,000 square foot facility where it is still serving students today.
Continuing the tradition of serving workforce development needs, MSC's 2001 Refugee Targeted Assistance Program (RTAP) received on of two Exemplary designations awarded by the National Dissemination Center for Career and Technical Education, part of the U.S. Department of Education.
In early 2002 the Maricopa County Community College District Governing Board approved the purchase of the 5.5 acre lot adjacent to the MSC campus. Now in the planning stages, construction of a new building and remodeling of the existing facility is slated to begin in early Summer 2011.
Maricopa Skill Center | 1245 East Buckeye Road | Phoenix, AZ 85034 | 602.238.4300