There are common goals that all of us in central New Mexico are working for, striving for and yearning for. We all want to see improved economic growth in our region. We all want to see a big increase in the number of good jobs that are available to our community members. And we all want to lift up the quality of life for everybody in our beloved region, including the generations to come.
Of course, these lofty goals are easier said than accomplished. To make bold and timely progress on improving the overall prospects for central New Mexico, we need as many people and as many organizations pulling in the same direction as possible. At Central New Mexico Community College, we believe the best way to generate the kind of momentum that can pull our region toward greater prosperity is through the power of partnerships. Not just symbolic or narrowly focused short-term partnerships, but strategic and very committed partnerships designed for broad and maximum long-term impact.
CNM has a long history of being a willing, able and very effective partner in efforts that support our community and our public education system, as well as our local economy, businesses and industries.
In 2008, CNM, Albuquerque Public Schools and the University of New Mexico signed a groundbreaking agreement to partner on a level never seen before in this state among a public school district, a community college and a university. As a result, it is easier today than it ever has been for students to take the first two years of coursework for a bachelor’s degree at CNM and then seamlessly transfer the credits to UNM to complete the final two years.
We have more APS students taking college-level classes at CNM than ever before. And in fall 2013, we opened the College & Career High School on CNM’s Main Campus, an extremely promising partnership between APS and CNM that is a model for transforming education. We also have a strong and productive partnership with Rio Rancho Public Schools to provide dual credit opportunities. Overall, there were more than 2,200 high school students taking CNM classes in the fall term, an all-time record.
CNM has a very diverse student body with a wide range of educational goals. To provide as many student transfer pathways as possible, CNM has also partnered with New Mexico State University, Eastern New Mexico University, New Mexico Highlands University and others. Thanks to these partnerships, students seeking bachelor’s degrees can save thousands of dollars by attending CNM first, which puts thousands of families in a better financial position.
CNM is a key partner in “Mission: Graduate,” which has brought together public education institutions, business leaders and government leaders in central New Mexico for a concerted effort to add an additional 60,000 college graduates to the region by 2020. CNM has responded by graduating an all-time record number of students over the past year.
Since CNM opened in 1965 as Albuquerque Technical Vocational Institute, we have been partnering with local businesses and industries to provide them with the skilled workforce they need to thrive and grow. For each of our career technical education (CTE) programs, CNM partners with business and industry professionals to form advisory committees. These committees ensure that CNM teaches curriculum that prepares our students to succeed in the workplace, not just the classroom.
When employers like Intel, General Mills and Eclipse needed specialized training programs to develop a productive workforce, CNM responded and delivered skilled employees. When New Mexico sought to attract the film industry, CNM produced the film crew technicians that helped the state become a hub for the industry. These are just a few examples of what CNM has been doing for nearly 50 years.
At CNM, we understand very well what can be accomplished through partnerships. And we understand that our community needs us to do more as we all try to meet the difficult challenges facing education and economic development in this post-recession era. So we want to remind our community that we are ready, willing and able to join in new partnerships that can help pull education, our economy and our community in a more prosperous direction for all.