Workplace Training Leads Young Mother to Rio Salado College Degree in May 2015

Share Article

USAA in one of several Valley companies that partner with Rio Salado College to offer industry-specific workplace education. Employees get customized training that earn college credits leading to certificate and degree completion.

Rio Salado College Graduate Rhiannon Lay

Rhiannon Lay

We’re encouraged to think outside the box to solve problems and find innovative solutions, so I find myself putting my coursework into practice almost daily at USAA. --Rhiannon Lay

USAA in one of several Valley companies that partner with Rio Salado College to offer industry-specific workplace education. Employees get customized training that earn college credits leading to certificate and degree completion. Employers get a more educated and engaged workforce.

Rhiannon Lay was determined not to be a drop-out statistic when she became a mother during her junior year at Apollo High School in Glendale. So she transferred to Mesa Distance Learning Program and completed her high school certification online.

After high school, Lay got married and was raising her three young daughters. She worked in the banking industry and took some classes at a for-profit college.

Then Lay got a job as a property and casualty insurance specialist with USAA.

The job was more than an income. It paved the way for Lay to earn a college degree.

“Since 2002, more than 5,000 USAA employees have successfully completed their workplace training and earned college credits through our partnership,” said Susan Lawrence, Director of Corporate and Government Partnerships at Rio Salado. During her first year at USAA, Lay enrolled in a certificate program.

“I was determined to set a good example for my daughters and let them know they can do anything they set their mind to,” Lay said.

When the certificate program ended, Lay met with a Rio Salado advisor and learned that some of her previous college credits could be applied to a degree program.

“Employees can accelerate their degree completion when they consolidate workplace training with additional credits earned at Rio Salado or elsewhere,” Lawrence said. “Many times they only need a few courses to earn their degree.”

Lay graduated from Rio Salado in May 2015, with an associate degree in organizational management, and has already experienced the benefits of her education at work.

“We’re encouraged to think outside the box to solve problems and find innovative solutions, so I find myself putting my coursework into practice almost daily at USAA,” Lay said.

Although she admits going to school while working full time and being a full-time parent was a lot of hard work, Lay plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree at Arizona State University in the fall.

“Nothing worth having comes easily,” she said.

Learn more about Rio Salado’s corporate and government educational partnerships or call (480) 517-8512.

Rio Salado College is one of ten Maricopa Community Colleges and one of the largest online public community colleges in the nation, serving nearly 59,000 students annually with more than 30,000 online. Founded in 1978, Rio Salado offers 600+ online classes, 100+ degree and certificate programs and general education courses. The college also provides support for dual enrollment, military and incarcerated students and serves as one of the largest providers of adult basic education in Arizona.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Annette Flores
@mcccd
since: 12/2009
Follow >
Follow us on
Visit website