Charlene Tarver 2020

A Candidate with a History of Service

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Charlene Tarver has spent her entire life advocating for poor and marginalized communities.


From her early years working with Covenant House Legal Services (NYC), homeless residents through NYU’s Health Research Project, Court Appointed Special Advocates, and Volunteers in Probation, Tarver has been a tireless advocate for opportunity. That pathway led her through the NYS Attorney General’s Office, the Federal Public Defender’s Office, The Mayor’s Office (Oakland), her own law firm, and Maricopa Community Colleges to The Women’s Economic Institute, Inc.-- a federally recognized 501c3 providing  policy, technical assistance, workforce training, and leadership development for women and girls.   


Growing up on the south side of Syracuse, New York (a city with the highest concentration of Black and Hispanic poverty in the nation) Tarver watched her parents struggle to put food on the table for their four young children. 


  • Education was my way out of poverty— it led to livable wages and social mobility. My father had a third grade education and my mom started taking nursing classes at the community college during my 9th grade year.   That was my first exposure to what community college could mean to working families. It meant inclusion and that I didn’t have to live in poverty or raise my children in poverty.  


  • I would not have made it through high school, college or law school without Upward Bound and Higher Education Opportunity Programs. I was a smart kid, but I didn’t have resources. Opportunity programs and NYS's investment in education made college and graduation attainable.


Tarver earned her bachelor’s degree at NYU, a law degree at the University at Buffalo School of Law, and an LL.M. in Tax and CEBS from Georgetown Law. She began teaching at Maricopa Community Colleges after her law firm closed in 2017. 


  • My own professional challenges brought me to Maricopa Community College, because I knew I could make a difference with students "like me" that were desperately seeking to overcome obstacles.


In working with academic programs like business and Year Up!—serving first generation college bound and DACA students—Tarver connects with students where they are, with the intent of empowering them to go beyond where society says they can. 

Tarver for Maricopa Community Colleges

Creating opportunity for Maricopa County students, families, and faculty. 

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A Bigger Vision for Maricopa

Closing the Opportunity Gap

Affordable and accessible community colleges reduce the number of opportunity youth in the state, ensure students graduate on time, place more Arizonans on a pathway to financial security, and create a viable labor market for Maricopa County and the state.
 

Nationwide there are 5.5 million opportunity youth (i.e., young people between the ages of 16 and 24 who are not enrolled in college or participating in the workforce). Data suggests that a high concentration of those youth are right here in Maricopa County.— Some struggled in school and lacked adequate support to make it to graduation others were involved with the justice system, teen parenting, or children who simply "aged out" of  foster care.  Nationally  young adults who are not in school or working cost tax payers $93 billion annually and $1.6 trillion over their lifetimes in lost revenues and increased social services. The question is can Maricopa County afford to write off such a large group of young people? And can Arizona afford the long term public and social costs of doing so? The answer is “No”. 


With stronger state and federal partnerships and  the state’s reinvestment in community colleges we can reduce the high population of opportunity youth, make education affordable, strengthen the valley’s workforce, make trade and vocational training easily accessible, develop strategic pipelines from high-school-to-community college, and ensure graduation is achievable for every community college student.  Maricopa Colleges receive zero state funding, down $69million annually from 2008-2009, and  approximately $441 million lost in the last decade.   Through state reinvestment and public-private partnerships we can close the opportunity gap in Maricopa.

Making Maricopa Stronger Together!

Strengthening and reinvesting in  our community colleges ensures greater social mobility, stronger families and neighborhoods, and a thriving economy. I’m asking for your support today and your vote on November 3, 2020 for the Maricopa Community Colleges Governing Board, District 5.  Let’s make Maricopa stronger together!

Making community college achievable

A Voice for Maricopa Community Colleges

For more than sixteen years Charlene Tarver has served on boards and commissions throughout Maricopa County. From park services and bond financing to pension reform and body worn cameras, Tarver brings diverse administrative, business and legal experience; a depth of knowledge; a strong voice; a demonstrated commitment to education and representing marginalized communities; and an ability to work across the aisle to get things done.  She will be a voice for all of Maricopa.

United By A Common Goal

Just like our students, families, and the faculty that serve them, Charlene Tarver knows the value of education, mentoring, community, and a chance.  


"I believe in Maricopa Community Colleges, that's why I teach here and that's why I'm running for Maricopa Community Colleges Governing Board (District 5).  Like you, I believe our students and the communities we serve deserve the very best quality education, workforce training programs,  technical/vocational training, and a pathway to upward social mobility. We have one common goal and that's to make Maricopa great!  We can accomplish that because we're stronger together! 

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