AP NEWS

GO Bond D will help New Mexicans succeed

October 14, 2018 GMT

As interim president at Santa Fe Community College, I have seen the power of higher education in our community to change lives. Every day I see several hundred people who have made the choice to better themselves and their community walk through the front doors of SFCC. It’s with much excitement and gratitude that I proudly shake the hands of hundreds of those students at December and May graduations who’ve committed their hard-earned dollars, time and energy to earn a certificate or associate degree that will launch them into new jobs or onto their next step to earn a bachelor’s degree.

These days, going to college is a necessity, not a luxury. According to the Center for Higher Education and the Workforce Center at Georgetown University, 65 percent of jobs available in the U.S. — or more than six out of 10 jobs, will require at least some post-secondary education by 2020.

On Nov. 6, voters throughout New Mexico will have the opportunity to provide New Mexico’s colleges, universities and specialty schools with the ability to ensure our students receive the education they need to succeed by voting in support of General Obligation Bond D.

In Santa Fe County, four schools will benefit from the passage of Bond D in ways that will enhance safety and security, as well as take care of essential construction and upkeep needs. The four schools that will benefit include New Mexico School for the Deaf, the Santa Fe Indian School, the Institute of American Indian Arts and Santa Fe Community College.

The passage of Bond D for SFCC will provide much-needed safety, energy-efficiency and infrastructure improvements to the SFCC campus, including continuation of the Microgrid Project, upgrades to cooling towers, installation of alternative clean power generation sources and better fire protection. The college will also be able to purchase needed instructional equipment for our automotive training center, which the college will build in the upcoming year. Automotive maintenance and repair is a rapidly changing field requiring a working knowledge of electronics and technology. The center will better prepare the college for this growing program.

At SFCC, we have seen how training programs that prepare individuals for industry certifications are in high demand among incoming first-time students as well as professionals returning to earn certifications. A good example of this is SFCC’s welding program, which has grown rapidly to meet regional demand. The program offers daytime and early evening classes, and still maintains a waiting list for those who would like to enroll.

A strong system of higher education is something all New Mexicans can support, regardless of their political affiliation. A vote for GO Bond D will prepare students and give them the skills and knowledge they need to become our next generation of leaders — without raising taxes.

New Mexico is working hard to strengthen higher education. According to the state Higher Education Department, the state’s colleges and universities have increased the number of certificates and degrees awarded by 35 percent in the past seven years.

Absentee voting began Oct. 9. Early voting begins Oct. 20. Election Day is Nov. 6, when polls will be open between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Support your community, our students and a better future for all New Mexicans by voting yes on GO Bond D. For more information about specific projects around the state and how passage of GO Bond D will have a positive impact on New Mexico, visit www.NMBondD.com.

Cecilia Y.M. Cervantes, Ph.D., is interim president of Santa Fe Community College. She brings many years of experience to SFCC as a president of other community colleges, where she has demonstrated her commitment to student success.