Rising Together Uplifts College and Career Readiness

Convening of Systems Change through College and Career Readiness.

Education, Government, and Union Leaders as well as Business Owners at the convening.

“All students in North Central New Mexico will engage in at least one relevant work-based learning activity before graduation” – those were the words of Rodney Prunty, President and CEO of UWNCNM, which describes the vision of our social impact initiative, Rising Together. The Rising Together team of UWNCNM is inspired by the community and grateful for their collaboration in accomplishing this long-term goal. 

On June 21st, 2023, UWNCNM hosted a convening to initiate connections between educational influencers, government and union leaders, and business owners. “Work-based learning and college and career readiness are critical catalysts which uplift New Mexicans, our economy and workforce” – The Honorable RJ Berry.

The Honorable RJ Berry
Rodney Prunty, CEO of UWNCNM

The convening created an education on what is happening locally to help New Mexicans achieve their long- and short-term career goals through presentations from youth, business owners, and community leaders.

Superintendent Scott Elder from Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) and Superintendent Teresa Salazar of the Moriarty-Edgewood School District (MESD) shared special words of encouragement for north central New Mexico to motivate attendees.

Scott Elder, Superintendent APS
Teresa Salazar, Superintendent MESD

Future Focused Education delivered a thought-provoking presentation of their X3 Internship Program which included a discussion from a panel comprised of youth interns and business leaders.

Future Focused Discussion. From left to right: Mike May, Director for Workforce Learning at Future Focused Education; Nicolette Garcia, X3 Next Intern Coordinator; Arlenda Thomson, Salud UNM; Ali Moore, Director of Social-Emotional Learning and Well-Being; Katie Sanchez, X3 Intern; Floredith Morales, X3 Intern; Adrian Casas, X3 Intern; Delcie Dobrovolny, Principal Equiterra Regenerative Design and Tina Garcia-Shams, Executive Director Street Food Institute

The Honorable Tom Tait from Anaheim and Anaheim Union High School Superintendent Michael Matsuda inspired attendees through their keynote address which included their youth and community-driven approach to college and career readiness. They reminded us that kindness is contagious and shared how it was rooted in their journey. Together, they developed AIME.

Michael Matsuda, Anaheim Union High School District Superintendent (left) and The Honorable Tom Tait from Anaheim (right)

The convening also included a panel discussion to celebrate what has been accomplished in New Mexico and what opportunities we can boldly and collaboratively face as a community. During the panel, UWNCNM’s role was well articulated. “United Way can build on the success of Mission Graduate by putting a focus on work-based learning goals and achievements. Through a sustained effort and long-term planning, we can produce graduates who are more ready to excel and be productive in their careers on day one. Increasing opportunities for work-based learning will benefit the students, the employers they work for, and our overall economy.” – Tracy Hartzler, President of CNM. We seek to accomplish this through our ongoing Rising Together initiative focused on educational attainment and family stability. Rising Together sets a community vision in partnership with Rising Together Vision Council and the soon-to-be-launched College and Career network. 

The discussion panelists included (left to right) Michael Matsuda, Superintendent of Anaheim Union High School District; Alvin Warren, Los Alamos National Lab (LANL) Foundation Vice President of Career Pathways and Advocacy; Tobi Wright, LANL Foundation Director of C3P; Tony Monfiletto, Executive Director of Future Focused; Hilario Chavez, Superintendent of Santa Fe Public Schools; Timothy W. Hand, PhD, founder of Ocotillo Strategies; Tracy Hartzler, president of Central New Mexico Community College (CNM) and Terri Wimborne Director of Collective Impact from United Way of North Central New Mexico (UWNCNM)

The convening also included special youth guests to celebrate the culture of New Mexico. The Mariachi Herencia from the Atrisco Heritage Academy High School delighted the audience with their music. Keshet dancers closed out the event, highlighting the many ways youth communicate to us.

September 27th UWNCNM will reconvene the group to plan out next steps and learn of additional resources.

Please contact Arge (RG) Flores, argelia.flores@uwncnm.org, or Sonya Lara, sonya.lara@uwncnm.org, with any questions.

Mariachi Herencia from the Atrisco Heritage Academy High School
Keshet dancers

Special thanks to The Honorable RJ Berry for moderating the event and chairing UWNCNM’s Public Policy committee.



Sign up for our emails and stay informed about how we work with partners and supporters like you to strengthen our community.