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New Mexico ‘Boot Camp’ Curriculum Addresses IT Skill Gaps

Central New Mexico Community College is exporting its Deep Dive Coding and Technology boot camps, offering them as a template for other colleges to launch their own tech workforce development courses.

People sitting in front of computers at a long table.
Students in Deep Dive Coding and Technology boot camp courses can earn training for skills such as web development and digital media.
(CNM Ingenuity)
As demand for IT professionals continues to grow in today’s digital workforce, higher-ed institutions are establishing a variety of new, accelerated certification programs to meet those needs. And some schools have looked to other successful skill-building programs for inspiration on how to establish their own IT-centered training initiatives.

The author of one of these programs, Central New Mexico Community College in Albuquerque announced plans this month to help other institutions establish tech training courses based on its own Deep Dive Coding and Technology “boot camps,” led by the college’s economic development nonprofit, CNM Ingenuity.

According to a news release, the college will provide support for other schools to develop their own IT boot camp courses by licensing its entire curriculum, which includes training in Full Stack web development, data science, Java/Android app development, Internet of Things (IoT) and digital media. As part of the initiative, CNM Ingenuity will provide “train-the-trainer” workshops for new instructors and staff, as well as instructor mentorship programs for an institution’s first cohort of participants.

Mary Gallivan, CNM Ingenuity’s senior director of program management, said schools could previously expect to invest up to $250,000 to develop just one course from the ground up, with much of those costs geared toward hiring and retaining personnel and program launch. With the help of their curriculum program, she said colleges and universities can drastically cut those costs.

“You have to dream up the program, put the curriculum framework in place, design it, create the materials, and all of the program supplements around it,” she said of the typical costs. “You need subject matter expertise, curriculum designers and experts and employers in the field weighing in.”

The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions is offering $80,000 startup grants for other institutions in the state to establish similar IT certification courses. Licensing is also available to schools and organizations throughout the U.S., the announcement noted.

According to the college, Deep Dive has enabled 600 program graduates to gain tech skills to earn $82 million in total wages since its launch in 2013. It received the Albuquerque Economic Development Excellence in Workforce Development Award in 2019 and the Air Force Research Lab New Mexico’s Higher Ed Program of the Year award in 2020.

Gallivan said each 10-12 week program can prepare students for IT-related careers in an ever-changing job market where demand for tech workers and teleworkers is growing, alongside a workforce gap in fields like cybersecurity.

“We launched data science in January 2020 based on New Mexico’s workforce needs,” she said, noting that the courses will change depending on workforce demands. “There will soon be a time when there’s some other technology that’s needed, or when something is no longer relevant.”

Doña Ana Community College in Las Cruces, N.M., was the first college to take advantage of the new licensing initiative to start its own Full Stack web development course this fall, taking inspiration from the success of the CNM Ingenuity program. The college is planning for its first cohort in October.

“We have really benefited from the wealth of experience that CNM Deep Dive staff and instructors have shared with us through the onboarding and train-the-trainer process,” Mary Ulrich, the college’s workforce development director, said in a public statement.

Gallivan said the licensing initiative aims to expand workforce training opportunities throughout the state and nation, building upon the goal of the courses themselves.

“The community college spirit is meeting people where they’re at,” she said. “The reason we launched this licensing program was that people kept coming to us and asking us to teach them how to do it.”

Most of Deep Dive’s courses were held virtually during the pandemic, which the nonprofit said afforded students more flexibility to receive certifications. Details on next year’s virtual, in-person and hybrid offerings remained pending as of this week.

For more information on how to enroll in Deep Dive as a student or in the licensing program, visit
Brandon Paykamian is a staff writer for Government Technology. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism from East Tennessee State University and years of experience as a multimedia reporter, mainly focusing on public education and higher ed.