CNM has in recent years launched programs designed to meet the needs of the day’s fastest growing industries – think cyber security and coding.
Now it’s doing the same with beer.
Starting this fall, Central New Mexico Community College will offer a brewing and beverage management associate’s degree, as well as a few industry-specific certificate programs.
Nick Jones, a faculty member for the brewing and beverage programs, said courses will cover a wide range of topics, from historical influences to brewery sanitation protocols, equipment maintenance and the selection of ingredients for commercial beer production.
CNM sought input from local breweries and industry experts when developing the curriculum, and Jones said the graduates should produce a pool of job candidates who require less of the standard on-the-job training. Jones is a former production manager for Santa Fe Brewing Co.
“Breweries who hire graduates of the program will find that they are familiar with a wide variety of techniques and that they possess significant background knowledge on any procedure that the brewery might train an entry-level employee in,” he said via email.
Breweries currently have little trouble filling entry-level jobs, according to John Gozigian of the New Mexico Brewers Guild, but he said CNM training should help job-seekers distinguish themselves in pools typically filled with people who have no professional experience.
La Cumbre Brewing Co.’s Jeff Erway agrees, but cautioned that the craft takes thousands of hours to master.
“It can definitely be a foot in the door – it can be a way to get yourself to shine on paper,” he said. “But at the end of the day, just like any profession, until you actually get behind the desk or get up on the brewhouse, that’s when you really, really start to learn.”
CNM spokesman Brad Moore said the school expects the first associate’s degree cohort to include 10-12 students, and for 12-18 to complete the brewing technology certificate of achievement in the first year.
He said the program is meant to fill demand locally but could also attract students from around the region.
CNM does not have its own brewing equipment, but spokesman Brad Moore said some labs will take place at local breweries. The school does have plans for a permanent facility of its own and will gradually “phase in” equipment, he said.
Existing students can begin registering for the fall courses on May 31, while new students can sign up starting June 6.
CNM also plans to host some brewing-related noncredit workshops, and those could start this summer.