Northern New Mexico College Introduces New, Enhanced Technical Trades Programs -
NNMC graduates

Española, NM – Northern New Mexico College will begin enrolling students this Fall in two new and enhanced programs as part of its newly-established Department of Technical Trades.

Students can begin pursuing certificate and associate degrees in the areas of Plumbing and Electrical Technology this August. Both programs are approved by the Higher Learning Commission and the New Mexico Higher Education Department, and provide students with college credit while they learn highly marketable skills in these fields.

“We are pleased to begin fulfilling the need for affordable trades education in our community and the promise we made to voters last November,” Northern New Mexico College President Rick Bailey said. “Thanks to the support we have received, hundreds of students will now have a pathway to gainful employment that will help uplift our communities and rebuild our economy.”       

Both programs are available at the low rate of $110 per credit hour due to the creation of Northern’s Branch Community College, and because of funding provided by Northern’s Mill Levy, which passed last November with the support of local voters. Eligible students can also apply state and federal financial aid toward the cost of these programs, including the New Mexico Opportunity Scholarship, which becomes available this Fall to students pursuing certificate and associate programs. Current high school students can take all classes in either program free of charge as part of Northern’s dual credit offerings. In addition to lowering the cost to the student for these programs, the Mill Levy funding supports program faculty and the construction of lab facilites on Northern’s El Rito campus in the near future.

Northern’s new plumbing program was developed in collaboration with the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local Union 412. While any student can pursue a degree in the program, Northern is working to finalize a partnership with the Local 412 to provide college credit to current apprentices. Northern’s Electrical Technology program has been offered for many years, but the curriculum has been updated and enhanced in collaboration with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union 611.

“We are excited to bring programs in Technical Trades to our community and will work with each individual student for the most successful outcome possible,” chair of Northern’s Department of Technical Trades Dr. Frank Loera said. “New Mexico Workforce Connections forecasts over an 11 perecent growth in industry positions in the next few years in New Mexico alone, and over 6600 jobs directly related to these trades, not to mention the peripheral opportunities.” Loera said that in addition to providing core skills, both programs also incorporate the fundamental training and education to start a business in these trades. 

Students and community members interested in learning more about Northern’s programs in Technical Trades and dual credit offerings are invited to attend a virtual information session taking place on Tuesday, August 11 from 6 – 8 pm via Zoom. For full event details, visit

This article was posted by Cheryl Fallstead

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