LAS CRUCES – The Bridge of Southern New Mexico, the state’s unique collaboration of business, economic development, government and education, accepted a $10,000 grant from US Bank on Thursday, Oct. 3.
US Bank representatives Craig Buchanan, Marketing President, and Karen Bailey, Vice President, presented the grant in support of The Bridge efforts to increase high school graduation rates and build a stronger workforce for Doña Ana County.
The Bridge board of directors includes Dona Ana County leaders from business, economic development, government and education. Board members are working together to achieve the highest graduation rates in the state by 2016 by optimizing career and technical education for county students, said Stacie Allen, President/CEO of The Bridge, a non-profit organization established in 2009.
“US Bank places support for students’ education and career-readiness as a top priority,” Buchanan said. “The work The Bridge is accomplishing — combined with financial help from US Bank and other regional businesses — is the perfect catalyst. We expect our collaboration will produce this win-win result for Dona Ana County’s next-generation wage earners, as they choose to stay in school to complete their high school and college education.”
“When students stay in school, they improve their families’ economic status and even their own retirement status. We at US Bank are proud to invest in the success of this community. We support The Bridge and its many partners as they work to change lives,” Bailey said. “We and our families are proud residents of Doña Ana County communities. We have a vested interest in the well-being of our economy and workforce.”
Allen said involvement of business leaders from energy, healthcare, aerospace, engineering, finance, manufacturing, hospitality/tourism, agriculture and construction sectors – combined with economic development leaders — on The Bridge board of directors has created a model of cross-sector collaboration for New Mexico. The Bridge demonstrates how business can work hand-in-hand with education leaders to develop the state’s future employees, entrepreneurs and leaders, she added.
The Bridge laid the foundation for the state’s first early college high school, Arrowhead Park ECHS (APECHS), located in Las Cruces. Three Early College High Schools are open or under construction in Dona Ana County. Arrowhead Park ECHS reports 100 percent student retention since the dual credit campus opened in 2010.
The Bridge is building a “community of mentors” for students by promoting business internships, advancing teacher training and building parents’ capacity as strong mentors for their children. Learn more about The Bridge online at www.thebridgeofsnm.com.