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Editorial: Downtown synergy accelerates with CNM

Another big player has committed to revitalizing Downtown with an innovative idea that goes far beyond retro street lights and bar crawls.

Central New Mexico Community College, the state’s largest institution of higher education, is partnering with Rosemont Realty on a STEMulus Center in First Plaza Galeria. By offering compressed/accelerated/missing courses and skill sets to nontraditional students, the center hopes to harness the entrepreneurial promise of folks with great ideas, skill them up and steer them in the right direction.

CNM President Katharine Winograd explains that “it’s important that we remind ourselves we are here to create a workforce and to provide opportunities for people to build better lives.”

Whether it’s to take a crash course in a new legal software or utilize a test kitchen for a restaurant concept, STEMulus promises to bring 2,000 folks to Downtown who might never have ventured there, much less into the business community.

CNM has already proven it knows how to draw traditional students. It has an enrollment of more than 30,000 students, and around 2,000 potential students from 32 high schools attended its recent career and technical education open house.

So this next step is a smart bookend to the University of New Mexico’s Innovate ABQ initiative, a bold project with strong support from the city and private sector that joins academics with entrepreneurs in a Downtown-area center. As UNM President Bob Frank says in his weekly perspective, “it is exciting to see CNM jump on board with the Downtown revitalization efforts. The new CNM STEMulus Center and Innovate ABQ complement each other well, both support entrepreneurial studies, but to different audiences.”

And while those people will likely appreciate the retro street lights and happy hour specials, the city, UNM, CNM and others know it’s their human capital that will make a revitalized, academic/business-centric Downtown much more than the sum of its parts.

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.