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Mission: Graduate drive makes ‘significant’ gains

Mission: Graduate, an initiative of United Way of Central New Mexico, has announced that 29,469 new graduates with post-secondary degrees and certificates were added to the central New Mexico region between 2010 and 2017.

That’s according to Mission: Graduate’s sixth annual data report, which was released Wednesday and represents the most recent numbers available.

Since 2010, the aim of Mission: Graduate has been to increase the number of new graduates with degrees or certificates to 60,000 by 2020. The number of new additional graduates is above the baseline certificate and degree attainment rate established in 2010. The total number of degrees and certificates awarded during the same time frame was 113,787.

Central New Mexico Community College and the University of New Mexico “continue to make significant graduation gains, both in terms of the total number of credentials awarded and their overall graduation rates,” said Jessica Nojek, executive director of Mission: Graduate. “While the goal is an important driver in our work, the conversations that have started by bringing together our community is what is inspiring lasting change.”

Mission: Graduate is a cradle-to-career partnership of educators, employers, educational support providers, government leaders and citizens in Bernalillo, Sandoval, Torrance and Valencia counties who develop strategies to help more students graduate from high school and enroll in colleges or programs where they can earn a degree or certificate. The intention, ultimately, is to keep these new graduate and certificate holders employed in central New Mexico.

“We’re halfway to our (60,000) goal based on the data log,” Nojek said. “Of course, we don’t know the numbers for 2018-19 yet, but we are very close to being on target for our goal, so this data report is actually really good news.”

Nojek said a major driver has been the various degree and certificate programs offered through CNM and UNM – 12,909 and 6,129, respectively, for the 2016-17 school year. The Pima Medical Institute programs in Albuquerque awarded 648 certifications.

Throughout central New Mexico for the 2016-17 school year, 20,908 certificates and degrees were awarded in total from all institutions, a significant jump from the 2015-16 school year when 14,934 certificates and degrees were awarded.

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