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UNM-LA's Accelerate Program Helps Students Prepare for Future Careers

on June 9, 2012 - 8:23am

From left, Fatima Pino, Jeff Bold and Ivette Jimenez. Photo by Bonnie Gordon

By Bonnie Gordon

The Accelerate Technical Training Program brings students a new approach to academic success. 

It offers ongoing coaching that quickly prepares people of all ages and educational backgrounds for enhanced employment opportunities in science technology engineering, mathematics (STEM), and business.

Accelerate provides a step toward obtaining jobs, as well as a flexible foundation for retraining as industries and employers innovate in the future.

The program is available at six regional colleges including UNM-Los Alamos and UNM-Taos.

The program provides students with academic and career coaching, helps them connect with employers in their field and provides them with professional readiness training, UNM-LA Accelerate Coordinator Jackie La New said.

Twenty-three students participated in the program at UNM-LA during the 2011-2012 academic year, the first year the program was in place.  

La New is currently recruiting students for the 2012-2013 cohort.

UNM-LA students Jeff Bold, Fatima Pino and Ivette Jimenez participated in Accelerate this year.

Bold graduated from UNM-LA with an Associate of Arts in Pre-Business Administration in May 2012. Pino also graduated in May. She received an Associate of Applied Science in Applied Technologies with a concentration in Nanotechnology.

Both students will attend UNM in Albuquerque in the fall. Jimenez is pursuing an Associate of Arts in Pre-Business Administration and will continue in the Accelerate Program in 2012-2013.

“The structure of the program was really helpful. We had monthly meetings that involved learning skills that helped me to be more disciplined,” Bold said. “For example, I didn’t keep a calendar before. Now I do. I learned a lot of things I hadn’t thought of before, such as sending thank you letters after a job interview.”

“My internship was a huge benefit of the Accelerate Program,” Bold said. “I worked at North Wind Environmental Engineering doing accounting, cost analysis and project analysis. It was extremely interesting.”

“I have an internship at Los Alamos National Laboratory this summer,” Pino said. “It’s focused in chemical engineering. I’ll be studying chemical engineering this fall.”

One benefit of the program is getting to meet people from other colleges, the students agreed.

The students attended an event in February at Santa Fe Community College that involved mock job interviews.

“It was a bit like speed dating,” Jimenez said. “We had three 15-minute interviews with three companies that fit with our degree and by the third one you are really prepared and confident.”

“You were able to ask the employers how to improve your presentation,” Pino added. “You were able to find out what answer would make you the ideal job candidate.”

The individual attention was one of the most important features of the program, Bold said. “I found myself in Jackie’s office really often. It’s given me a place to go when I have questions.”

For Jimenez, the focus on career is one of the most important aspects of the Accelerate Program. “It helps you focus on the future,” she said. “It helps you prepare for what will happen after you get the degree.”

The students agreed the program helped them succeed academically and enhanced their future success in their chosen careers.

“The Accelerate Program is really excellent,” Pino said. “I would encourage anyone who qualifies to apply.”

To learn more about the Accelerate Program at UNM-LA, contact Jackie LaNew at (505) 663-3402 or jqq@unm.edu.

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