Practicing innovation and collaboration

By AACC 21st Century Center Staff

Through CNM Ingenuity, employers and entrepreneurs gain access to training and support.

At Central New Mexico Community College (CNM), innovation is a part of the culture. The college created CNM Ingenuity to provide an environment that fosters economic development and job creation in the region.

Established in 2014, CNM Ingenuity has helped workforce partners and aspiring entrepreneurs through innovative programming. There are bootcamp-style accelerated programs and collaborative spaces like the FUSE Makerspace to give entrepreneurs access to resources. There’s customized, contract-based training for companies. CNM Ingenuity also supports degree and certificate programs in new and different ways.

Examples of success are numerous:

The Deep Dive Coding program – which provides modern web programming and software development bootcamps – has grown to four coding tracks, graduating nearly 400 students. After completing a bootcamp, graduates are earning an average starting salary in the Albuquerque area of $49,000 per year. Deep Dive grads also have gone on to start 24 new businesses.

Because of its work in this area, CNM was named one of 20 community colleges across the country to partner with Facebook to help train at least 1 million people on digital skills. The partnership will result in a new non-credit digital marketing certificate program, which will include courses in digital marketing and social media strategy 

CNM Ingenuity’s FUSE Makerspace is a community center with tools that allow makers, entrepreneurs, students and hobbyists to design, prototype and create manufactured works. There are workshops in jewelry making, screen printing, metal working and more.

Through the IGNITE Community Accelerator, a 10-week early-stage business accelerator, local entrepreneurs can get support to help grow their business.

Ralph Trimnell utilized the accelerator program and CNM’s computer information systems classes to develop a motion sensor device to assist dementia patients.

“I really want to get this device out there. That’s my goal,” Trimnell said in a release. “I need cash of course, but I would also like the help of students at CNM that know more about this kind of technology.”

CNM Ingenuity also recently launched a lineworker pre-apprenticeship program in partnership with the New Mexico Rural Electric Cooperatives Association (NMRECA).

“Around the state the conversation around apprenticeships is growing,” CNM Ingenuity Program Director Dawnn Moore said in a release. “Bringing on a lineworker pre-apprenticeship program that feeds directly into the 15 rural cooperative apprenticeships gives students in this immersive program an advantage when looking for employment opportunities.”

Students in the program are learning everything about utility line maintenance and safety, including electrical theory, installing cross-arms and practicing pole-top rescues on life-size dummies. They also will receive training necessary to obtain a Class A Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), a prerequisite to receiving program certification.

How is your college fostering economic development and job creation? Sound off at LinkedIn.

AACC 21st Century Center Staff

is a contributor to the 21st-Century Center.