Building the Bridges Between Education, Employment, and Economic Development
The Bridge of Southern New Mexico leads the conversations that are driving educational and economic success for young people by understanding that student success can happen at many levels — high school graduation, career-certification, and college degrees.
This innovative, business-led, education-focused collaborative unites the top educational leaders in Doña Ana County (the Las Cruces, Gadsden, and Hatch school districts, Doña Ana Community College, and New Mexico State University) with business, economic development and government leaders to literally bridge the skills and knowledge gaps between education and career readiness for students.
Since we began in 2009, we seek to support young people in crossing every finish line on their individual academic journeys, because when they win, we all win. The more highly-skilled and career ready young people are to engage in entrepreneurism and employment in their communities, the better equipped they are to build strong families and futures, while fueling the growth and development of thriving industries here and across the state.
There’s Still More To Do
Since we began in 2009, we have seen outcomes for students improve, but we are not done. To continue to remove barriers, forge connections, and create the best ecosystem for student success, we must:
- Create a culture of opportunity and employability that raises the expectations of young people and their families, breaking the cycles of poverty that have hindered them and the community for far too long.
- Champion an asset-based narrative about our community’s youth and support a culture of completion – crossing academic finish lines on the way to life-long career success.
- Create deep pools of well-qualified talent for the industries targeted for economic development efforts in the county
- Help families and students better navigate the high school-to-college-to-career journey.
- Close the soft skills gap for young workers.
- Increase graduation rates – at the high school, community college, and university levels.
- Apply the lessons of what works from the Early College High School model in Career and Technical Education Pathways to help far more students in traditional high schools.
- Foster deeper business engagement with schools, teachers, and students to shape and equip successful future entrepreneurs and employees through the five “ships:” Leadership, Mentorship, Internships, Apprenticeships, and Externships for Teachers.
- Inform smart state and federal policy that supports and sustains these pathways to student success.