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Director's Notes

UNM Innovation Academy Pilot Project Features Accelerate Math Program

Accelerate’s Math Experience  is featured in a pilot project at the University of New Mexico’s Innovation Academy.  Dr. Mario Rivera,  Regents’ Professor and lead evaluator for the Accelerate program’s remedial math class, is teaching a Public Administration 522 course on program evaluation.  This graduate course involves students in current evaluation projects, particularly Accelerate New Mexico’s Math Experience, a remedial math program funded by the Department of Energy involving UNM-Los Alamos and UNM-Taos in retraining nontraditional students for certification and employment in STEM fields. The course helps students in Public Administration, Political Science, Education, CRP, Water Resources, and Sociology bridge the theory-practice gap, developing analytical and methodological skills that pertain to community- engaged, culturally-responsive research, on the basis of an experiential and collaborative learning pedagogy.

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Director's Notes

Career Readiness Event – Save the Date!

Attention Accelerate Program Students!    On February 12, 2016, the Accelerate program is partnering with Santa Fe Community College and local and regional employers to host a one-day workshop that will provide you with an opportunity to practice the skills vital to finding a job and establishing a career you love.

This career readiness workshop is the culmination of the monthly workshops you attend throughout the 2015-2016 academic year.  The day long session is a dress rehearsal and will provide constructive feedback from regional employers on your  cover letter, resume, professional attire and interviewing skills.

Representatives from more than 25 regional companies and organizations will volunteer their time to work with you in small group settings on your resume, elevator speech, and interviewing skills.

On Course to Your Career will be held on Friday, February 12, 2016 from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm at Santa Fe Community College.

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News

Accelerating success at UNM-Taos

Re-printed with permission; originally published in the UNM-Taos Report on September 14, 2015

The UNM-Taos Accelerate Program, which is funded by a grant from the Department of Energy, is one of the programs I like to check in on every once in a while, because it embodies many of the best practices we try to employ in all our program and course offerings. While Accelerate starts with students who are statistically less likely to succeed in college, the results of in-depth support can be substantial. They just finished what they call their Summer Math Experience, an eight-week intensive, so I asked Avelina Martinez, who has been running the program for the last three years, to give us an update.

“Our students meet the demographic markers Accelerate has laid out: they are non-traditional, minority, first generation college students. The program is unique in the sense that we use an online curriculum so that students are able to go at their own pace, but we supplement that with two in-class instructors and a tutor,” Martinez said. “This summer, our students as a group logged over 200 hours of tutoring outside class, and I’m proud to say that one hundred percent of our students passed the summer program and will be continuing at UNM-Taos in the fall. When you compare that to other classes that don’t have that extra support, it’s a real victory over the math phobia that so many students have.

“We work with our students holistically. We try to determine what their career goal is, and then work backward from there to identify which academic program will help them get to that goal. That way we can lay out a really clear career path, and once a student is engaged with their education, they start to realize that they can actually attain that goal, and that it fits into the bigger picture of their life.

“Our first generation students are often not really familiar with the verbiage and culture of higher education. It’s new, it’s intimidating, and it’s a big financial commitment to take on. When you have financial and time commitments competing with basic needs and family, it can be really intimidating.

“But by being able to sit down with a student and really listen to what career goals they have, and align those with the right program, we start to see a lot of success in terms of graduations. That, in turn, helps our numbers at UNM-Taos and emphasizes the importance of having a community college with acceptable tuition and classes close to home. It then becomes practical for students to attend, and the impact on our community is a lasting one.

“For example, I had a non-traditional student, a single father, who came in and he wasn’t really sure that this was the place for him, but he did really well in his classes and we encouraged him to stay. Now he’s making efforts to enroll his child into early childhood programs, and I can see that, by him finding a place at UNM-Taos and knowing that he has a career goal that is attainable—it’s not just a dream—he not only sees the value of education in his own life, but he is also going to support his daughter in getting the education she needs in her life.”

I commented that this is the way our whole society can change with gradual improvement from one generation to the next, and Martinez said, “Right. Education just makes our communities healthier.”

The UNM-Taos Fall Semester begins August 17, and more than 800 of your friends and neighbors have already enrolled. You can reach the Enrollment Office by calling 575 737-6215, or you can walk in without an appointment any Wednesday. On August 11 the Student Affairs Department will be open until 7pm on the Klauer campus to help those who can’t come in during regular business hours.

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Director's Notes

Career Readiness Workshop Schedule

Accelerate is a new infrastructure, not a curriculum, assisting higher education institutions to more effectively work with non-traditional students and to prepare them for jobs.  Designed around the needs of both students and northern New Mexico’s employers, students enrolled in the Accelerate program while in college work with a dedicated Career Technical Advisor and participate in career readiness training and workshops throughout the academic year.

Workshop topics vary by participating college.  This year’s topics range from networking, résumé writing, cover letters, and interviewing, to dos and don’ts of social media,  hiring and expectations, and leadership and communication skills.  The October – December 2015 Workshop Schedule is as follows:

 Luna Community College

  • Friday, 10/16/15          Tips on Note Taking/Test Anxiety/Teambuilding Workshop
  • Friday, 11/6/15             Financial Planning/Money Management Workshop
  • Friday, 11/13/15           Customer Service/Soft Skills/Leadership Workshop
  • Friday, 11/20/15           Grants/Scholarship/College Admission/College Transfer Workshop

 University of New Mexico – Los Alamos

  • Monday, 10/05/2015    Resumes
  • Monday, 10/19/2015    Cover Letters
  • Monday, 11/09/2015    Networking
  • Monday, 11/06/2015    Interviewing
  • Monday, 11/30/2015    Professionalism/Soft Skills/Attire

 Northern New Mexico College

  • Friday, 09/25/2015        Assertive Job Search (Informational Interviews)
  • Monday, 10/19/2015     Resumes that Excite Employers
  • Friday, 10/30/2015         Professional Networking on LinkedIn
  • Monday, 11/09/2015     How to Conduct a Job Search
  • Monday, 11/16/2015     How to Market Yourself in a Cover Letter
  • Friday, 01/22/2016         Developing the Soft Skills to Keep a Job
  • Monday, 01/25/2016     Interviewing to Win the Job
  • Friday, 02/12/2015         Professional Readiness Event

 New Mexico Highlands University

  • Friday, 10/16/2015          Career Fair Success Workshops (Must also attend the Career Fair)
  • Thursday, 10/22/2015    Career Fair Success Workshops (Must also attend the Career Fair)
  • Monday, 10/26/2015      Career Fair Success Workshops (Must also attend the Career Fair)
  • Wednes, 11/04/2015       Fall Career Fair
  • Week of 11/9/2015           Resume Writing
  • Week of 11/16                   Cover Letters
  • Week of 11/30                   Elevator Pitches and Soft Skills
  • Week of 01/19                   Interviewing Skills
  • Week of 01/25                   Refresher for Professional Readiness
  • Week of 02/01                   Refresher for Professional Readiness

 Santa Fe Community College

  • Tuesday, 11/10/2015        LinkedIn
  • Tuesday, 11/17/2015        Elevator Pitch
  • December 2016 (TBD)       Resume Building
  • January 2016 (TBD)            Interviewing

 

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News

Good News on the NM Education Front

Good news on the NM Education Front July 1 2015

Article on Accelerate Math Experience by Dennis Domrzalski published in the July 1, 2015 edition of the Albuquerque Free Press
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News

Accelerate Intern Featured in LANLToday

Accelerate Student Intern Featured in LANLToday

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Director's Notes

RFP for Grant Researcher/Grant Writer

REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS

Grant Research/Grant Writing

Posted September 15, 2015 – Deadline for Submissions September 21, 2015

ORGANIZATIONAL OVERVIEW & BACKGROUND

The Accelerate Technical Training and Job Placement program was launched in March 2011. Accelerate is a program of the Regional Development Corporation (RDC) in collaboration with regional businesses, and 6 Northern New Mexico colleges (UNM-Taos, UNM-Los Alamos, Northern New Mexico College, Santa Fe Community College, New Mexico Highlands and Luna Community College).  The goal of the program is to increase the graduation rates of non-traditional technical degree-seeking students, better prepare them for educational and career advancement, and place them in appropriate jobs.

An independent program evaluation conducted in the spring of 2015 determined that graduation rates for Accelerate program students increased by 20 percentage points over those of non-Accelerate students. The evaluation concluded that “…the Accelerate program and the elements that comprise it as it was constructed and evolved is one of the best programs nationally that has enhanced the outcomes and successes of students.”

Accelerate is half way through the fifth year of a five year funding commitment by the U.S. Department of Energy/Office of Environmental Management, and is seeking new funding opportunities to sustain and enhance the program.

REQUIRED DELIVERABLES – GRANT RESEARCH

The Accelerate program seeks a grant researcher to:

  • Meet with RDC for an initial need’s assessment to include discussion about program, funding requirements, and eligibility.
  • Research and identify top funding opportunities through federal, state, and private foundations based on grant requirements/criteria, award size, past funding history/location, proposal deadlines, matching fund requirements; reporting requirements, and terms and conditions.
  • Present a written report that details information on matching funders. Identify the top five opportunities, the timing required to meet proposal deadlines, and estimated proposal preparation time (for top five).

REQUIRED DELIVERABLES – GRANT WRITING

The Accelerate program seeks a grant writer to:

  • Prepare letters of interest (if applicable) and general grant writing services associated with grant applications for all or some of the five opportunities identified in the Grant Research portion of this RFP. Grant writing services to include preparation of funding abstracts, and production and submittal of applications to funding sources.
  • Submit full proposal reviews two weeks prior to grant submission deadlines.
  • Submit final proposals that include all required proposal documents to the RDC one week before grant submission deadline.
  • Proposer to electronically submit the full grant application documents to funder to meet submission deadlines.

ASSUMPTIONS AND AGREEMENTS

  • This project requires knowledge of foundation, state, and federal funding sources. Previous success with National Science Foundation and U.S. Department of Education proposals and awards is extremely beneficial.
  • Proposers may bid only on the Grant Research component or on both the Grant Research and Grant Writing components.
  • A preliminary budget for this project has been established. Vendor bids may not exceed a total of $13,000 (for both components).
  • A contract(s) will be awarded on or before 4 pm, Friday, September 25, 2015
  • Contract award will be based on:
      • Demonstrated knowledge of sources of grant funds available to New Mexico- based non-profits and institutions of higher education
      • Demonstrated proficiency in obtaining funds;
      • Provider’s qualifications and experience;
      • Provider’s staff qualifications;
      • Plan provided by Provider for services;
      • Cost of services; and
      • Relevancy of other information provided by Provider
  •  The due date for the Grant Research deliverable is October 23, 2015. The due date for the Grant Writing deliverable will be determined based on timing of the opportunities.

PROPOSAL FORMAT

  • The proposal must include a section that details the time, personnel and cost required to complete the project.
  • To include a list of the most recent projects for which the Proposer has performed similar services of comparable size, scope, and complexity.
  • The proposal must include documentation (or directions to web-site) which demonstrates the vendor’s capabilities and experience on like projects.

SUBMISSION OF PROPOSAL

  •  The deadline for proposal submissions is 4 pm, Monday, September 21, 2015.
  • The proposal should be submitted (ONLY electronic proposals will be accepted)  to:

Regional Development Corporation, 706 Bond Street, Espanola, New Mexico 87532

Attn:   Carla Rachkowski, Accelerate Program Manager

Carla@rdcnm.org

 505-270-6049

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Director's Notes

NNMC Accelerate Student Places First at Research Symposium

Story courtesy of Sandy Krolick, Creative Director of Communications & Marketing, NNMC.  Photo by Dr. Mario Izaguirre-Sierra.

Sergio Cordova, a Northern New Mexico College student in the Accelerate program, shared first place with a student from New Mexico Tech for his poster on spinal muscular atrophy in plants at the joint poster symposium with the UNM Undergraduate Pipeline Network and the New Mexico Idea Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (NM-INBRE) program in August.

Cordova, a student in Northern’s Information Engineer Technology program, used computer software and programming to analyze, “shred,” and realign the RNA of two plants, one with a particular gene mutation leading to spinal muscular atrophy and the other without that mutation.

“Even though plants have no brain or muscles, this is the same gene that we have as humans,” Cordova said. “By ‘realigning’ the mutated plant RNA, putting the pieces back the way they should be, we can learn where things may have gone wrong. This is how we can use genomic analysis in plants to advance human biomedical research and help find a cure.”

In June 2015 Cordova was selected for a paid summer internship at the National Center for Genome Resources (NCGR) in Santa Fe, where he learned how to use programming and the Linux operating system to study bioinformatics, skills he applied to his poster research.

Cordova moved from Mexico when he was nine years old. “I wasn’t a good student in high school,” Cordova said. “My mom sacrificed a lot for me. She left her family and had to learn a new language and a new culture. I promised my parents that I would work hard and do well in college.”

When Cordova took his Compass test as a Northern freshman, he learned he was good at math. In his Introduction to Engineering class he built and programmed a robot, and from that moment on decided that he wanted to be an Engineer. Cordova, now a junior, plans to attend graduate school to get his Masters in Engineering.

NM-INBRE is a statewide network funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to provide research opportunities and enhance science and technology knowledge for students and faculty from undergraduate institutions. Northern New Mexico College is one of the science partner institutions that collaborate with the leading parent institution, New Mexico State University.

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Director's Notes

LANL Community Programs Office Contributes to Internship Program

The Accelerate program was recently presented with a $20,000.00 contribution by Carole Rutten  on behalf of the LANL Community Program’s Office.  Ms. Rutten has served on the Accelerate Advisory Committee for the past four years.

The contribution will be used to pay  stipends for student internships and help with the costs of the program’s “Fall Mixer”, an event that provides information on the power of networking and allows students to practice this valuable skill with regional employers.  The Accelerate program and our students are grateful for this generous contribution!

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Director's Notes

Enrollment Now Open for 2015-2016 Accelerate Program

Non-traditional students who are enrolled in one of six participating northern New Mexico colleges this fall can now apply for the Accelerate program.  Get personalized advice, mentoring, and support while working one on one with an Accelerate Career Advisor., receive stipends for participation in professional readiness workshops and classes, apply for a paid internship, and meet regional employers.  Space is limited; contact the Accelerate Career Advisor at your college today to find out more.