How Special Funding is Helping this Sandoval County Student Start a Criminal Justice Career

Dianne Salido is working toward a juvenile probation officer job and her entire tuition is being covered by Workforce Connection of Central New Mexico
June 10, 2021

Dianne Salido has a knack for working with kids. She previously had a job where she counseled students who brought drugs to school or had been caught fighting, and says it was rewarding to help, even in difficult situations. 

“I liked being able to step in when there was no one else for these kids,” Dianne says. “I was able to put myself in their shoes and saw that they were just kids who were making mistakes and crying out for help.”

To turn this skill into a career, Dianne decided to enroll in CNM’s Criminal Justice program and hopes to eventually work as a juvenile probation officer. At CNM she says she’s received high-quality training and also been fortunate to have her entire program paid for through a special program run by Workforce Connection of Central New Mexico.

Instead of having to take out loans, or work full-time while going to school, she’s been able to concentrate on her new career and encourages others—especially other students who live in Sandoval Country like her—to apply for similar funding through a new program called Upskill Sandoval.

“It is our focus at Workforce Connection to provide access to education and training that supports New Mexicans in getting back to work,” said Joy Forehand, Operations Manager for Workforce Connection of Central New Mexico.  “We can help people moving into in-demand career paths by investing in their educational goals with up to $9K in tuition assistance.”

If all goes to plan, Dianne will graduate with her associate in Criminal Justice degree at the end of the summer term. After that she plans to get a bachelor’s degree in the same field. Much of her schoolwork has been done online because of the pandemic, but she says she does well with online curriculum and has received lots of help from the CNM instructors.

“I’ve been given extra time to complete assignments and the instructors have always been there for me, no matter what I needed,” she says. “Overall the experience has been awesome.”

Dianne has one brother who’s already an Albuquerque Police Department officer and another who’s currently in the police academy. She says it’s clear that her family has a calling toward service. She’s excited to broaden that calling by concentrating on kids.

“I understand that plenty of adults need help, but I’ve worked with kids who are six weeks old all the way up to kids who are in 12th grade, and I like that they’re not stuck in their ways just yet,” she says. “There’s a great opportunity when it comes to kids and I’m excited to make a difference.”

Learn more about the Upskill Sandoval program here and about CNM’s Criminal Justice program here.