Robert Garcia attended South Phoenix schools, including Valley View Elementary and South Mountain High School. He is now a Workforce Program Manager in the Office of Economic Opportunity for the State of Arizona. In his role, Garcia advocates for young people in and around South Phoenix.
Robert is a fourth generation Arizonan who was raised in the South Phoenix area and was there to watch it grow. His family has roots all over the state, having lived in places like Jerome, Prescott, Ajo, and South Phoenix. He grew up playing sports in the tight knit community of South Phoenix and watching sub divisions form in the area. His wife and family members who also lived in South Phoenix also marvel with the developments in the community over time, as orange groves gave way to some of the first brick buildings, and then shopping centers.
Garcia also talks about growing up in a tight knit community with lots of good events. He describes their fiestas and growing up with everyone knowing everyone. *0:8:12*
Garcia moved around a couple of times during his elementary and high school years, but graduated from Central High School. He talks about the strong Hispanic presence in South Phoenix schools. A lot of migrants would settle in South Phoenix while there was work, leave when there was no more work, then come back again around the same time the following year.
He furthered his education a lot more and gained all types of degrees and certificates. Garcia has an Associate Degree in Business from the University of Phoenix, a Bachelor’s Degree in Management, a Master’s Degree in Public Administration, and a Project Management Certificate. He also served twenty-two years in the Marine Corp.
Robert is now very passionate about getting people education opportunities and job opportunities. He is working on projects that give veterans opportunities to get some higher education and internships. He works with colleges to do selective partnerships and development that go towards long term jobs. A program that he wants to put together is getting people from Phoenix into higher education and getting them into jobs that make more money.
Overall Robert Garcia had a great deal of affection for South Phoenix. He was there from the very beginning when the buildings we see now were barely being built to now helping people find jobs in the very community he grew up in. His childhood built a lot of character and perspective. Growing up in a close community impacted the fact that he wants to get local people educated and making money instead of hiring from outside. His passion was very clear throughout the whole interview. So much rich history was collected from Robert. He mentioned the migrant communities, the fiestas, the education, and the gangs. This interview is very well rounded and gives really good insight into what it was like growing up in South Phoenix and having the opportunity to give back as well.
Images donated by Robert Garcia
|Place of Origin||South Phoenix, Arizona|
|Place of Residence||South Phoenix, Arizona|
|Occupation||Workforce Program Manager, State of Arizona|
|Interview Date||February 18, 2021|
|Interviewed by||Student Researchers: Katie Campos and Rebecca Miranda|
|Story written by||Student Researchers: Katie Campos and Rebecca Miranda|