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Editorial: Diploma effort off to good start

It’s still early, but an effort to put more people on sustainable career paths armed with college degrees or certificates is on track to reach its goal of having 60,000 new graduates in the four-county Metro area by 2020.

Mission: Graduate, a cradle-to-career initiative spearheaded by the United Way of Central New Mexico, exceeded its 2013 goal by 3,571. The target was for universities and colleges in Bernalillo, Sandoval, Valencia and Torrance counties to award 13,237 degrees or certificates. In actuality, 16,178 were handed out.

Mission: Graduate is a partnership that includes the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque Public Schools, Central New Mexico Community College, Presbyterian Healthcare Services, Public Service Company of New Mexico, Intel, the city of Albuquerque, Bernalillo County, the Albuquerque Journal and others.

In addition to helping adults who never finished high school get a GED and pursue higher education, the program strives to keep young people in school and on track to earn degrees or certificates that will allow them to succeed in their chosen career or job. Middle and high school students are exposed to a variety of careers through internships, job shadowing and mentoring in partnership with local businesses.

The business community also benefits from a more educated and trained workforce, a key factor in attracting new businesses and industries to New Mexico.

This ambitious project is important, and special thanks go to the 350 people who volunteer their time and expertise to try to ensure that central New Mexico is a place where every student has a shot at success.

If you are interested in helping with this important work, check the website

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.