Back to top

Mission: Graduate announces progress toward the goal

Share this on:

Mission: Graduate, an initiative of United Way of Central New Mexico, announces that 20,226 new graduates with post-secondary degrees and certificates were added to the central New Mexico region between 2010 and 2016. This number represents progress our community has made toward Mission: Graduate’s goal of 60,000 new graduates with degrees or certificates by 2020.

The “new” number is defined as the number of additional graduates above the baseline certificate and degree attainment rate established in 2010. The total number of degrees and certificates awarded during the same time frame was 92,789.

CNM and UNM have continued to make significant graduation gains, both in terms of the total number of credentials awarded and their overall graduation rates,” says Angelo Gonzales, Chief Strategy Officer. “Our community should be proud of the exceptional work being done by our public postsecondary institutions to increase college attainment in our region. Having more residents with post-high school certificates and degrees is good for the people who hold those credentials and it’s good for the economic vitality and overall well-being of our community.”

The update will be announced at Mission: Graduate’s semi-annual All Partner meeting to be held on Friday, July 20, 2018, from 8-noon at Fidelity Investments in Albuquerque.

In recognition of these gains, the Albuquerque metro area was designated as a Talent Hub by Lumina Foundation in 2017. Albuquerque, among the other cities designated, earned this new designation by meeting rigorous standards for creating environments that attract, retain, and cultivate talent, particularly among today’s students, many of whom are people of color, the first in their families to go to college, and from low-income households. Albuquerque’s Talent Hub is led by Mission: Graduate and was developed in partnership with Central New Mexico Community College and New Mexico Workforce Connection Central Region.

The data presented on July 20 will be featured as part of Mission: Graduate’s annual data report, Reaching New Heights, which will be released later this summer. During the All Partner meeting, Mission: Graduate staff will provide a preview of the report and facilitate discussions with our partners to explore high-impact strategies that our community can undertake to support the three priority populations that are essential to reaching the goal: “off-track” high school students, disengaged and disconnected youth, and working-age adults.

To set the stage for these discussions, Monika Kincheloe and Liz Glaser of America’s Promise Alliance will deliver a presentation on “A National Perspective on High School Graduation and Post-High School Success.” America’s Promise Alliance manages the GradNation Campaign, the goal of which is to increase the nation’s on-time high school graduation rate to 90% for the class of 2020.

Mission: Graduate works with more than 353 individual partners from 149 different organizations to undertake collaborative strategies designed to help more students graduate from high school, enroll in college, earn a college certificate or degree, and enter a career of their choosing in central New Mexico.

Although the success of post-secondary institutions should be celebrated, there is still much work to do to improve student outcomes, from cradle to career. To address these issues, Mission: Graduate is working in the following areas:

  • College enrollment and completion: To help increase the number of adults attending college, Mission: Graduate runs an initiative called Graduate! ABQ, in partnership with New Mexico Workforce Connection Central Region, which helps working-age adults take the steps to enroll or reenroll in college.
  • High school graduation: Mission: Graduate has three strategies aimed at improving high school graduation rates. First, we are working with over 40 school-based attendance teams to help reduce chronic absenteeism and increase student engagement in school. Second, we are working with four schools in Albuquerque’s South Valley on a career exploration demonstration project designed to increase the number and quality of career experiences available in middle and high school. As part of this college and career readiness strategy, we are also partnering with Junior Achievement and Valencia County schools to provide career exploration opportunities. Third, Mission: Graduate is supporting science and math teachers from Rio Rancho Public Schools and Los Lunas Schools to develop their skills to better use technology in the classroom and to make connections with local business professionals as a way of learning about real-world applications of science and math that can be incorporated into their classroom instruction.
  • Kindergarten readiness and early grade reading: In partnership with the Early Childhood Accountability Partnership (ECAP), Mission: Graduate is working to increase children’s engagement in summer learning experiences and supporting the ability of early childhood service providers to increase their capacity to serve Bernalillo County families.  Additionally, through the Making Moments Matter campaign, we are supporting families’ use of bonding, attachment, and early literacy practices.

Mission: Graduate is a cradle-to-career partnership consisting of educators, local employers, educational support providers, government leaders, and citizens who are committed to a goal of 60,000 new graduates with college degrees and certificates in central New Mexico by the year 2020. Mission: Graduate is an initiative of the United Way of Central New Mexico.

United Way of Central New Mexico, founded in 1934, serves a four-county region. UWCNM’s mission is to bring people and resources together to measurably improve lives and strengthen our communities. To learn more, visit or call 505-247-3671.