Schooling leaders stress assist of vocational programs
Local schools and universities need the help of the business community to provide vocational education opportunities, leaders said Thursday.
The Rio Rancho NAIOP Roundtable August Meeting took place on Thursday, the first face-to-face meeting of the group since March 2020 and the first ever outdoor meeting at Haynes Park.
“We weren’t sure if anyone was going to show up,” quipped Bill Stanage of the Wealth Management Group, one of the planners of the event.
About four dozen attendees came to enjoy breakfast burritos, orange juice, and coffee – and a quartet of speakers talked about professional engineering.
CTE – Vocational Training – has been a priority for the Rio Rancho public schools in recent years as there has been a return to the past. Courses such as car repair, engineering, theater technology and culinary arts are offered for high school students. Through a partnership with Central New Mexico Community College, dual CTE programs are available in fire science, nursing, welding, and medical assistance.
The increased focus on CTE, said RRPS Superintendent Sue Cleveland, is “not a new thing” as the district seeks to move this curriculum forward.
“We really need your help,” she said, adding that partnerships are key.
Because of this, RRPS has connections to the CNM and the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Rio Rancho campus, providing the next steps in the pipeline to well-paying careers – with hourly wages of $ 40 and $ 50 mentioned at the meeting.
Tracy Hartzler, president of CNM, which has had a campus in Rio Rancho since 2010, said it was important that the skills acquired in high school were “seamlessly” carried over to college and that the audience were the experts who ” guide “must where we go.”
Given the nationwide shortage of nurses – ABC News reported Friday that there are 23,000 vacancies for registered nurses in Texas – Laura Burton, the program manager at UNM’s Rio Rancho campus, said the building is being renovated to accommodate future nurses and nurses To better serve health professionals Enrollment in these programs has increased.
A virtual reality skills lab – the first for the university – will also be installed there, resulting in improved “exposure and hands-on engagement for the students,” she said.
Also in the face of the pandemic, Burton noted that there is a growing need for breathing technicians, with UNM Rio Rancho being able to “provide a good foundation for them” as students embark on graduate courses.
Two local construction workers told the group they are facing challenges, but workers in their sector will find it very lucrative, especially given the current labor shortage in the community.
Cleveland said the stigma of working building needs to change.
“Children will go where we value their work. … We want to inspire children, ”she said.
She added that she was tired of seeing kids who were educated in New Mexico high school “go elsewhere.”
“We have to get rid of a big stereotype,” said Larry Davis, RRPS’s new CTE director. “We have to start marketing (CTE fields) in middle school … rename it (and get it to these kids with gusto). … fractions make sense if you need a 5/8 inch socket. “
“Educators are really good at education and designers are really good at building,” he said, and the building field offers “endless possibilities.”
Hartzler said it would be helpful if the audience, if possible, would join in and offer educational programs and internships for students.
“Why do we spend so much training other countries’ workforce?” Interrogated Cleveland. “We need a dedicated source of income (from the state). … I think we are in a really good place to move CTE forward.
“We need a plan; we need consistent planning, ”she added.
Haynes on site at Haynes Park
Coincidentally, a recent Zoom NAIOP Rio Rancho Roundtable meeting was about the city’s newest park, Campus Park, between City Hall and the Rio Rancho Events Center.
The meeting on Thursday took place in the oldest park in town, Haynes Park, which was of particular importance to long-time NAIOP member Martin Haynes. The park was named after his mother, Zelda Haynes, who “worked for AMREP, the lead developer of Rio Rancho, as a leisure director in 1964”.
Zelda Haynes remained in that position until her death in 1971, her son recalls.
“The building, swimming pool and park were under construction when she started working for AMREP, which when completed would become the focal point of the small unincorporated community,” he said in an email to NAIOP. “There are many wonderful memories associated with the park.”
One of his fond memories came out on Thursday when he remembered his mother driving him up the hill and his immediate impression was, “Someone’s crazy – no one is going to move up here.”
On Thursday, when the leisure center was still there, he said, “It’s almost surreal.”
His family provided the coffee and breakfast burritos.