CNM Ingenuity best for trucking, jewelry classes

In a fast-evolving world of higher education, workforce training, student dynamics and employer needs, we at Central New Mexico Community College understand our community needs the college and CNM Ingenuity to be constantly innovating, staying agile and being strategic as we adjust to emerging trends and expectations.

That applies to everything we do at CNM, including the comprehensive, data-driven review of 200-plus programs offered for college-credit at CNM or accelerated workforce training programs through CNM Ingenuity.

CNM recently recommended two programs that are offered in both formats – truck driving and bench jewelry – move forward as workforce training offerings through CNM Ingenuity. We’re planning to offer these two programs in the most efficient format that will help us best meet industry demand while helping students quickly gain the skills they need to enter the workforce and start earning a professional income. With New Mexico’s unemployment rate leading the nation, quicker training options provide quicker access to jobs.

In regard to truck driving, we currently offer two options for students – the 15-week, college-credit truck driving certificate program and the immersive four- to five-week CNM Ingenuity truck driving program.

We’re recommending a consolidation of resources from the two programs into the more effective delivery method offered through CNM Ingenuity. We simply can’t continue running the college-credit program at a significant deficit. Consolidating resources to scale up the CNM Ingenuity program will give us the capacity to:

• Serve more students and connect them more quickly to great jobs – paying an entry level salary of $65,000 or more annually.

• Serve high-demand needs of employers in the region.

• Create more flexible training schedules that meet student and industry partner needs.

The CNM Ingenuity program is more financially sustainable, and the training is proven in producing high-quality drivers for industry. While higher in price than the college-credit program, the Ingenuity program remains accessible to community members through many sources of financial assistance. Ingenuity students access local, state and federal programs – including the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), the Veterans Administration, and funding from workforce and industry partners. We have also ensured that our CNM Ingenuity program will remain the lowest-priced truck driving program in the Albuquerque regional market.

Because New Mexico is a world-class mecca for the arts, and since cultural traditions can be expressed through jewelry making, we’re recommending that CNM Ingenuity expand bench jewelry course offerings in the workforce training format, which can be scaled more effectively to demand. For more than five years, the college-credit bench jewelry program has not met the academic thresholds and metrics of the evaluation process – every college-credit program is required to have at least 10 graduates per year. Unfortunately, this program has had a declining number of annual graduates from eight to four over the last three years.

CNM Ingenuity is currently collaborating with a local jeweler to run an open-enrollment class focused on targeted techniques in bench jewelry making. We can still meet the community’s needs by continuing and expanding these types of partnerships and efforts.

CNM must make strategic decisions to maintain and improve the college’s financial position so we can continue innovating and creating new programs in emerging fields. Working with Amazon, CNM and CNM Ingenuity created a mechatronics program to meet industry demand for advanced manufacturing skills. Mechatronics provides students with a combination of skills related to mechanical, electronic and computing systems that are needed to work in modern-day manufacturing and are in demand by many local employers. CNM’s new artificial intelligence program is educating students on skills that will provide them with high-wage jobs in a field that’s growing exponentially every day.

The CNM Governing Board is well-informed on our recommendations for truck driving and bench jewelry and will consider these recommendations at the April 27 Planning Committee meeting and at the May 10 Governing Board meeting.

On behalf of CNM, we’ll continue striving every day to be innovative, agile and strategic as we evolve for the future.