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Delta Dental of New Mexico Awards CNM $50,000

January 9, 2014 -- Delta Dental of New Mexico has awarded the CNM Foundation a donation of $50,000 to create a Student Success Award for students in the college’s Dental Assistant certificate program.

The Delta Dental Student Success Scholarship will help students with the costs associated with transitioning from school to employment. It can cover such expenses as licenses, certification or testing fees and purchase of supplies or professional attire. Awards will be no less than $500 and will be distributed based on strong financial need coupled with job-related obstacles that could prevent a student from successfully transitioning into a career. High academic performance is another criteria for this award.

“We are proud to award this scholarship funding to CNM to give students incentive to complete the dental assistance program and transition to employment,” said Delta Dental’s CEO Walt Bolic, “CNM has one of the best dental assistant programs in the state. We know this partnership will enable even more students to succeed and transition to well-paying jobs.”

He added that skilled dental assistants “are extremely important in the overall oral health delivery network.”

Lisa McCulloch, Executive Director of the CNM Foundation, said this Student Success Fund will likely have a strong impact on graduation rates for the program.

“Many students experience financial obstacles nearing completion of their program that have the potential to interfere with their plans to graduate,” McCulloch said. “To help us prevent this from happening, Delta Dental has stepped up to assist students with the cost of certification or exam fees and the transition from college to a career.”

The Dental Assistant Certificate is a 46-credit hour program accredited by the American Dental Association (ADA). The program has been ADA-accredited since 2003. CNM’s program is the only ADA Council of Dental Assisting-approved program in the area that prepares graduates to become fully certified dental assistants who can obtain licenses in any state.

The program consists of hands-on instruction and takes place in classrooms, laboratories and dental clinics. It prepares students for state certifications in dental radiographs, pit and fissure sealants, coronal polishing and topical fluoride application, as well as for Dental Assisting National Board exams.

Students are required to serve 420 internship hours in two dentist’s offices. This experience and accreditations means that the students can sit for national exams immediately after graduation, rather than having to work 3,500 hours after graduating from a non-accredited program.