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Editorial: ‘Running Start’ gets boost

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An Albuquerque program to help high school students get a running start on a career path came out on top in a national competition for federal money.

The city’s “Running Start for Careers” program, created by Mayor Richard Berry and run jointly with Albuquerque Public Schools, Central New Mexico Community College and several charter schools, has won a $1.6 million grant from the Corporation for National Community Service. The federal agency manages AmeriCorps.

The grant will support 104 AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps Vista members, who will work with students and the local program on internships and apprenticeships in high-demand industries like film or health care and foster an employer network to offer opportunities for the students after they graduate.

The grant is expected to be matched with at least $600,000 from the community over its three-year run.

Running Start has been an amazing success. It has a 98 percent completion rate, with 99 percent of participants of graduating age finishing high school.

Berry and Gov. Susana Martinez teamed up to apply for the grant money, which was awarded to only about a dozen applicants across the country, according to Wendy Spencer, CEO of the federal agency in Washington, D.C. Spencer said she believes the Running Start/AmeriCorps effort can become a model for the nation.

Once again, a cooperative and creative effort is giving New Mexico students an edge by connecting them to a career path and providing employers with a skilled workforce. Everyone wins.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.

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