How CNM is Staying on the Cutting Edge of the Skilled Trades

The college recently selected welding instructor Jim Berry as a Presidential Fellow and he’ll spend the next year mapping out the various ways CNM will stay at the forefront of the evolving trades
October 05, 2021

Amazon is now in Albuquerque and as that business continues to go, so too does its need for skilled workers who have specific training. One area where it has a pressing need is Mechatronics—a field that combines mechanics, electronics, and computing. Amazon uses Mechatronics to run its delivery system at the warehouse and recently reached out to CNM to see if the college could help train workers for the Albuquerque facility. 

The college, of course, was happy to oblige and is already moving forward by providing upskilling opportunities through CNM’s partnership with Unmudl, an online college marketplace that provides non-credit upskilling opportunities that lead to in-demand jobs. The college is also looking to start a Mechatronics program, and that’s where Jim Berry, a Welding instructor at CNM, comes in. 

Jim, who was recently named as a Presidential Fellow, will spend the next year figuring out how the college’s skilled trades programs are able to meet the constantly evolving and long-term needs of the world’s most cutting-edge businesses like Amazon. 

“People might not realize this, but there’s an enormous need for trained workers in the skilled trades right now and we’re excited to develop programs that get people good jobs,” Jim says.

Another key field Jim will be reviewing as part of his fellowship is automation. He already teaches robotic welding but wants to ensure students are trained to use the most advanced tools and are able to stay on top of new techniques as the trades evolve. 

“I know automation can be scary because people think robots will replace us, but that’s not how we’re looking at the future,” Jim says. “If we can teach students how to use a robotic welder, that will make them more productive and more valuable. There’s currently a shortage of welders and we’re looking at all options.” 

In addition to Amazon, there are several other business sectors that need upskilled workers and CNM is using Unmudl to provide flexible, non-credit opportunities that go hand-in-hand with the college’s credit options. To develop the best curriculum for our credit classes, Jim is reaching out to other institutions that might have already implemented the type of advanced trainings CNM is planning to offer. 

CNM is also planning to build a new state-of-the-art facility for the skilled trades programs on Main Campus. Jim will be working closely with the architects to ensure the facility can house all the new technology that CNM will be using.

Front and center, Jim says, is a request to create a Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC) lab. PLCs are used to control everything from lights to HVAC systems in large buildings and students from various skilled trades classes all learn how to use PLCs. The lab will be a place those students can get training with shared course objectives. 

Ultimately, Jim says, now is an exciting time for the trades and he’s looking forward to helping CNM create more opportunities to educate, train and connect our skilled graduates with jobs of the future in a quickly evolving workforce. 

“Over the coming years we’re going to see a real change thanks to things like electric cars and the evolution of manufacturing,” he says. “People will need a whole new set of skills and we’re going to be here to train them.”