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Employers, Students and Educators Address Work-Based Learning in Northern New Mexico

April 27, 2023

SANTA FE, NM - In a rapidly changing job market, employers in Northern New Mexico face a critical challenge: finding the right talent to meet their hiring needs. Work-based learning has emerged as a promising solution, offering students valuable hands-on experience while providing employers with a pipeline of early talent and skilled workers. However, for work-based learning to be effective, employers and educators need to be up for the challenge of making it work, providing a clear return on investment (ROI) and line of sight for students interested in pursuing a CTE or higher education pathway.

GoEducate, a leading education-to-workforce technology platform, presents a panel discussion at this year’s Northern New Mexico Work-Based Learning Summit in Santa Fe, featuring faculty and students from Northern New Mexico College and a representative from JGMS, an employee-owned company based in Colorado with an office, staff, and strong ties in New Mexico. The discussion will focus on key strategies that all employers can use to better connect education, student experience, and opportunities to hiring needs and employment.

The panelists in the discussion include Dr. Ivan Lopez, Vice President and Provost of Northern New Mexico College, Sara McCormick, NNMC’s Career Services Director, two NNMC students who’ve recently been selected by JGMS to participate in the NextGen Fellowship, Mark Furmanek, Chief Administrative Officer at JGMS, Gordon Freedman, President of GoEducate, and John Hadad, GoEducate’s Director of Partnerships and Business Development.

"GoEducate and NNMC have established an incredible partnership that has benefited the region by providing employers access to our students. It also allows potential and current students to understand the skill sets learned through our programs and their connection to real jobs. I cannot think of any other partner that could have provided us with the support and service that GoEducate has done,” said Dr. Lopez, Vice President and Provost of NNMC.

The discussion will be moderated by Ericka Van Eckhoutte, One Stop Operator at Northern Area Local Workforce Development Board, and will explore the hurdles that employers and educators face in implementing effective work-based learning programs. Some of the challenges include providing a clear return on investment for students interested in pursuing higher education, employers having narrow control and visibility of where their workforce is coming, and limited ability for educators to make the match between students and employers.

The panel and its participants will highlight the importance of developing strong partnerships between employers and educators, and the role that technology, like GoEducate’s connective platform, can play in facilitating these partnerships. Best practices for designing and implementing effective work-based learning programs will also be examined, including how to identify the right types of opportunities for students and how to provide the support and mentorship needed for success.

“Connecting our students with work-based learning experiences through the GoEducate Platform, has had a tremendous impact on helping our students make more informed career decisions,” explained Sara McCormick, NNMC’s Career Services Director. “The platform has also helped them network with potential local employers, has connected them to more internships and 'earn while you learn' opportunities, has guided students in selecting their course of study, and has also helped develop the job skills relevant to their future employment.”

Attendees of this presentation will hear examples of successful student placement in work-based learning opportunities, like the NextGen Fellowship, which supports diversity and inclusion in STEM undergraduate education, and the impact they have had on both students and employers. JGMS has partnered with NextGen Fellows to provide meaningful STEM work and mentorship for internship candidates from minority serving institutions. By better connecting the dots between education, student experience, and employment needs, employers can create a win-win situation that benefits everyone involved.

“Since its inception, JGMS has been an organization committed to providing meaningful work and opportunities for people in our local communities. Our work with GoEducate, Northern New Mexico College, and NextGen Fellowship has allowed our business to easily connect with a diverse group of college students and support their professional development through internships and job opportunities. As an employer with ties to northern New Mexico, it is important that we build strong connections and engage students to create a pipeline of qualified employees for the future. We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with such great organizations that share a similar objective,” said Mark Furmanek, Chief Administrative Officer at JGMS.

The panel discussion will take place on May 3rd, 2023, at 9:00 AM at the Santa Fe Convention Center, and will be open to all attendees at the Summit. Audiences will leave with a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities associated with work-based learning, as well as practical strategies for making it work for their organization. By taking a proactive approach to work-based learning, employers can develop a skilled workforce that is better equipped to meet the demands of today's job market.

About Northern New Mexico College

Northern New Mexico College has served the rural communities of Northern New Mexico for over a century. Since opening its doors in 1909 as the Spanish American Normal School in El Rito, NM, the College has provided affordable access to quality academic programs that meet the changing educational, economic and cultural needs of the region.

Northern is an open-admissions institution offering the most affordable bachelor’s programs in the Southwest, as well as other competitively priced programs. Now one of the state’s four regional comprehensive institutions, with its main campus in Española, NM, Northern offers more than 50 bachelor’s, associate, and certificate programs in arts & human sciences, film & digital media, biology & environmental science, business, education, engineering, liberal arts, and nursing. The College has also reintroduced technical trades programs in electrical technology and plumbing, in partnership with two local unions and five public school districts through its new co-located Branch Community College, the first of its kind in the state’s history.

Northern is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and has earned prestigious national accreditations for its engineering, nursing, education, and business programs

About GoEducate

GoEducate is an Austin, TX-based education to work technology platform that connects people, education and in-demand jobs at the local level. GoEducate is focused on growing early talent, developing skills and building stronger communities with a diverse workforce. The company and its Regional Opportunity Portal platform (ROP) deliver innovative solutions that help organizations identify, nurture and retain top talent regardless of backgrounds and experience through an accessible marketplace environment that provides the resources needed to reach one's full potential.

To learn more, visit To see live portals in action, visit Northern New Mexico College and Odessa College

For more information, please contact GoEducate at

GoEducate connects educational programs, job postings, and student profiles to help communities address labor market inefficiencies and shortages.

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