When I was a kid, being raised by a single mother, going to college and getting a job were key points in my upbringing. In our household, getting good grades in high school meant getting into a good college, which meant getting a good job. From a single parents’ point of view, this was the only option I had if I were to be successful in life. I was fortunate to have my college education paid for by Veterans Benefits so I didn’t have to work while going to school. However, I was a lifeguard and manager with the city parks department and had the good fortune to really like my job so I was able to work and go to school at the same time.
Looking back on my upbringing, I realize that although education was the major emphasis for how I would achieve success, my work experience and training were just as vital. Both avenues provided me with the knowledge and skills needed to be a productive and capable employee or employer.
Now, as the head of the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce, I have the incredible opportunity to see the worlds of Job Training, Education, and Economic Growth work together in Las Cruces. Through the SUCCESS Partnership, the Green Chamber has been able to work with other organizations and agencies to amplify the benefits of job training and education when it comes to creating a strong workforce.
I think we have incredible training institutions in our city with Dona Ana Community College (DACC) and New Mexico State University (NMSU). If you want to get a Certificate in Building Construction, Cybersecurity, Electrical Lineworker, or many others, going to DACC is the perfect choice to qualify for those very important jobs. Or, to start your college career in getting your basics and then moving to NMSU to pursue a four-year degree, it’s a perfect introduction to the college experience. Going to NMSU is an excellent choice for degrees that allow more personalized fields of study and research while creating a solid foundation for future graduate degrees.
We also have to recognize that there will be individuals who will create their own path and career because of an incredible entrepreneurial spirit. Whether it be social media, a service provider, restaurant, food truck, or something else fabulous, we have to be able to support that innovation. That is where the Chambers of Commerce, WESST, the Small Business Development Center, SCORE, and the Arrowhead Center can provide guidance and support for those entrepreneurs who want to create their own path in the economy.
We have many different opportunities in Las Cruces that will help someone secure a good job. It is clear that for some individuals, seeking an education at a 4-year university is the perfect route to go for a good job. And, for others, getting the right training and certificates for many of our essential high-skilled trade jobs. Whichever direction is appropriate for you or someone interested in changing careers, the options are there. Having a strong workforce and economic growth in Las Cruces is only successful when we have institutions like DACC and NMSU provide the training and education needed to fill those in-demand jobs.
What is important is that we provide support and guidance for whichever route someone chooses because, in the end, our community and our economy will benefit.
About the SUCCESS Partnership:
The SUCCESS Partnership is an education initiative founded in 2013. It is a diverse group of over 100 cross-sector organizations comprised of parents, education professionals, nonprofit organizations, businesses, regional partners, and community leaders who are committed to providing education in Dona Ana County. The collaboration serves to achieve improved outcomes in education from prenatal to career readiness. The partnership is supported by the nonprofit organization, Ngage New Mexico.
For more information, contact Carrie at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 575-323-1575.
By Carrie Hamblen
CEO/President of the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce