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CTECH Prepares Students for Tech Careers in Hobbs, N.M.

Programs like those at Central New Mexico Community College or the Career and Technical Education Center in Hobbs (CTECH) are fast-tracking students for careers in fields like information technology and quantum computing.

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(TNS) — There's a theme in this week's Outlook about the different ways educators are rethinking workforce development across the state.

This week, the Journal visited the Career and Technical Education Center in Hobbs, which is wrapping up its second school year.

CTECH allows Hobbs High School students to spend part of their school week learning a trade. The program has six career pathways: energy, manufacturing, transportation, culinary hospitality, information technology and construction architecture. Students complete high school credits, college credits, work certifications and internships all at the same time.

In just a short time, the school is building up a workforce in southeast New Mexico. School officials said students have quickly graduated from high school and been hired on as teenagers with energy companies or architectural firms.

CTECH officials said the school has secured a spot as the No. 2 agency in the country for credentialing high school students. It has its sights on the top spot.

The school incorporates advanced technology into its curriculum. For example, students work with diesel engine trainers and virtual welders.

Meanwhile, back in Albuquerque, Central New Mexico Community College is reshaping the pathway to a successful career.

The guest on this week's episode of the Journal's Tech Outlook podcast was Brian Rashap, an Internet of Things and Quantum educator for CNM Ingenuity.

CNM Ingenuity offers and is expanding a series of boot camps. People can take 10- to 12-week boot camp courses on different subjects and become employable after completing the program.

Rashap said Internet of Things is essentially a way to describe smart, connected devices. For example, a doorbell that has a little camera that gives an alert when a package is delivered, or a smart thermostat would be concepts covered in the course.

During the 10-week course, Rashap said students will learn how to program, electronics design, 3D print and model and other skills to prepare them to work with smart, connected devices in some fashion.

He is also developing a quantum boot camp course that will prepare students to work as technicians in the quantum computing industry.

Rashap described quantum computers as potentially ultrafast computers that could solve problems much faster than a conventional one. He said a potential application would be a pharmaceutical company using quantum computing to test numerous possible drug interactions simultaneously.

Currently, the vast majority of professionals working with quantum computers and systems hold Ph.D.s. But Rashap said in the future, people who take a 10-week boot camp will be able to get a high-paying job in the developing industry.

Those are just two examples of how traditional education is evolving in New Mexico and affecting the local economy.

©2024 the Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N.M.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.