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Mission: Graduate Releases Report on Progress toward Goal

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Albuquerque, NM, July 12, 2017 – Mission: Graduate, an initiative of United Way of Central New Mexico, has released Fired Up, the fourth annual data report from the initiative. The report provides an overview of the educational outcomes tracked by Mission: Graduate, including the progress that central New Mexico is making toward Mission: Graduate’s goal of 60,000 new graduates with college degrees and certificates by 2020.

According to the report, 15,873 new graduates with post-secondary degrees and certificates were added to the central New Mexico region between 2010 and 2015. (“New” 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 78,209.)

The report reveals that the number of students earning post-secondary certificates and degrees continues to increase, but two notable trends continue to place downward pressure on our community’s ability to reach the Mission: Graduate goal. First, college enrollment numbers, particularly among adults over the age of 25, have continued to decline from year to year. Second, although there has been some upward movement in our community’s overall four-year high school graduation rate since 2010, the flow of students directly from high school to college could be much stronger.

CNM and UNM have continued to make significant graduation improvements, both in terms of the total number of credentials awarded and their overall graduation rates,” says Angelo Gonzales, Executive Director of Mission: Graduate. “The challenge before us as a community is how can we come together to improve the traditional pipeline of students who graduate from high school and go directly to college, as well as the many nontraditional pathways that can support individuals for whom the traditional path is no longer an option.”

To address these challenges, Mission: Graduate is working with more than 269 individual partners from about 100 different organizations to undertake collaborative strategies designed 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. Specifically, Mission: Graduate is working with partners in the following areas:

College enrollment and completion: To help increase the number adults attending college, Mission: Graduate is helping adults get to college through our new “Graduate! ABQ” initiative, a program designed to help adults take the steps to enroll or reenroll in college.

High school graduation: Mission: Graduate is working with attendance teams at various schools to help reduce chronic absenteeism and increase student engagement in school. We’re also working with the 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. Finally, in partnership with Rio Rancho Public Schools, Mission: Graduate is helping math teachers develop skills to prepare students for life beyond high school and making connections to local businesses to help teachers integrate real-world experiences into the district’s math classrooms.

Kindergarten readiness and early grade reading: Mission: Graduate is working to increase children’s engagement in summer learning experiences, supporting families’ use of bonding, attachment, and early literacy practices, and supporting the ability of early childhood service providers to increase their capacity to serve Bernalillo County families.

Read the full report here

Fired Up was produced through a partnership with the University of New Mexico Center for Education Policy Research, which compiled and analyzed the data in the report.

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.