The Best of Both Worlds

The Best of Both Worlds

In December 2022, the Southeast New Mexico College Board of Trustees created a new executive position, the Vice President of Workforce Development and Community Engagement, to support the College’s new commitment to providing training for business, industry, and the community as a whole.  Dr. Monty Harris first served in this role as interim before being named permanently after a national search this past spring.

In less than a year, the team he has assembled has made incredible progress.  In October, eighty-one students received 810 hours of Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) training.  Nine students completed basic electrical training on October 13, and twelve students enrolled in our initial Radiologic Control class, one of the first trainings offered as a part of our U.S. Department of Energy grant funded program.

Maria Quintana, our Community Education Coordinator and one of Carlsbad’s 40 under 40 named this fall, provided a variety of classes for all ages.  From Little Scientists and Junior Police Academy to Painting, Ceramics, Theater, and Beginning Spanish, we had 230 enrolled this past summer.  More than 648 students have participated in 2023 so far, and that doesn’t include our fall classes that are wrapping up this month.  Keep an eye on our website at for our winter schedule that will be out soon.

This is just the beginning.  We are looking to add more career and technical training to meet the needs of the oil and gas industry.  Much of this will begin with short-term offerings as we build out our expertise and work toward future certificate and degrees.  These will be included in the new Trades x Technologies Building, which may be a few years away, but is already being integrated into our plans for new academic programs.

With this new emphasis on meeting the economic development needs of our area, some may be wondering if SENMC is changing its focus and losing sight of all that it has done so well for so many years, particularly our degree programs and preparing students for transfer to four-year colleges and universities.  Fortunately, we can put those concerns to rest.  SENMC is not only committed to continuing its service in these areas, but we are also looking to expand.  We are exploring a new two-year degree focused on psychology, an effort spearheaded by Professor Jalal Hamedi, Ed.D., and an Honors program for highly committed students who want a world-class education close to home, led by Professor Zane Biebelle, M.F.A.  In addition, we have added a new website to showcase our wide variety of extracurricular offerings at the college.  Visit to see how engaged our students are in all that is happening at SENMC.  Our students are now able to easily track all they have done at our college outside of the classroom, allowing them to share this with family, friends, and potential employers.

SENMC is here to serve you.  Now, as an independent college, we are free to meet the needs you and yours have for education, whether young or old.  It is a best of both worlds solution, with classes ranging from an hour or so to two-year programs that lead to baccalaureate degrees at colleges and universities.  Know that our goal is not to focus on one or the other, but to provide all the educational essentials for the communities we serve.  A fast, flexible, win-win solution is now possible, and we look forward to realizing that future with you.

Kevin Beardmore may be reached at or 575.234.9211.

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