Technopreneur Experience program develops talent, supports local businesses

MESA, Arizona — June 7, 2021 — Mesa Community College (MCC) students gain valuable workforce experience and practical industry skills while engaging in community impact work with local businesses, through the Technopreneur Experience program.

The program enhances the experiences and employability of students pursuing careers using emerging technology. Student talent teams are assembled to help solve a technology deficit experienced by a local business. The teams’ aggregate knowledge and ability are pooled to develop a solution.

The model expands on the process used in developing Resources, Information & Services for Everyone (RISE) iOS app where a team of students and faculty partnered to help solve the problem of locating basic needs services.

“We hosted conversations with healthcare, technology and East Valley businesses to learn what technology barriers they were experiencing,” said Diane Meza, director of the Maricopa Information Technology Institute-East Valley (MITI-EV). “We quickly identified common themes. In addition to finding employees with specific technology knowledge, we learned there is a strong desire for talent with entrepreneurial aptitude to problem solve, the soft skills to work collaboratively and project management experience to execute.”

Students with certifications in areas such as app development, cloud, graphic design, web development, website design and computer programming, all of which are taught at MCC, work together to reach a common goal, determining a solution to a problem, while honing their business and related soft skills.

The program, which launched in fall 2020, was developed through the insight and support from teams at the Mesa Chamber of Commerce and Apple Community Education Initiative. Sixteen Mesa Chamber of Commerce member businesses indicated interest in participating in the MCC Technopreneur Experience program.

Recent alumnae Nicole Peterson, a first-generation college student who earned her Associate in Applied Science, Web Development in May 2021, gained valuable experience through her Technopreneur Experience capstone project. She helped create two apps, one for a Mesa coffee shop, Jarrod’s Coffee, Tea & Gallery and another for ReachOutAZ.

“In addition to applying my newly acquired skills as a web developer, the capstone project gave me insight and experience in development methodologies. Attending weekly virtual Scrum meetings allowed me to collaborate with classmates and mentors that held varying abilities and talents,” said Peterson. “I walked away with an earned degree, a valuable understanding of a related field of study, and the enthusiasm to continue community involvement”

The MCC Technopreneur Experience is one of six programs offered through the MITI-EV, a partnership between East Valley colleges, designed to grow talent to spur local business success and growth.

Businesses wishing to engage with MITI-EV to develop training for current employees, hire technology students, or have questions about the Technopreneur Experience program, should contact the director, Diane Meza, at 480-461-7077 or send an email to

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Media Contact: Dawn Zimmer,, 480-461-7892

Mesa Community College is nationally recognized as an Aspen Prize Top 150 U.S. Community College and is known for service learning, career and technical programs, civic engagement and innovative approaches to education. For more than 50 years, the college has served as a resource for career readiness, transfer education, workforce development and lifelong learning. Host to more than 30,000 students annually, MCC offers degree and certificate programs at its two campuses, additional locations and a combination of online formats. Through Guided Pathways with Integrated Support Services and a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, MCC is transforming how it champions student success, college completion, university transfer and career attainment and advancement. MCC is a Hispanic Serving Institution and nearly 50% of its students are the first in their families to attend college. Its American Indian Institute serves students from the 22 federally recognized tribes of Arizona as well as out-of-state tribes. MCC has the largest indigenous student population of all the Maricopa Community Colleges. The diverse student body includes more than 300 international students from 55 countries. Award-winning faculty are dedicated to student success, providing the education and training that empowers MCC students to successfully transfer to a university or compete in the workforce. Located in the East Valley of Phoenix, Arizona, on the traditional territories of the O'odham, Piipaash and Yavapi Peoples, MCC is one of 10 colleges in the Maricopa County Community College District. Visit to learn more.

Mesa Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) -

The Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) is an EEO/AA institution and an equal opportunity employer of protected veterans and individuals with disabilities. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, or national origin. A lack of English language skills will not be a barrier to admission and participation in the career and technical education programs of the District. MCCCD does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability or age in its programs or activities. For Title IX/504 concerns, call the following number to reach the appointed coordinator: (480) 731-8499. For additional information, as well as a listing of all coordinators within the Maricopa College system, visit

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Publication Date: 
Monday, June 7, 2021