Nursing Program Earns CNM Excellence in Workforce Development Award

The award recognizes organizations that make significant contributions to economic growth and prosperity in the Albuquerque area
October 07, 2020

CNM’s Nursing program has long been recognized for its contributions to the local healthcare community. Since 2017, nearly 800 students have graduated and the program has a 95 percent licensure rate by cohort. Now, Nursing is also being recognized for its exceptional impact on economic growth and prosperity in the Albuquerque metro area.

On Oct. 1, CNM’s Nursing program was named the winner of the 2020 Excellence in Workforce Development Award, which is part of the annual 505 Awards managed by Albuquerque Economic Development and the Albuquerque Forward Fund. This specific award recognizes an organization that has played a leading role in workforce readiness, including the implementation of training and educational programs, the sponsorship of scholarship or grant programs, the creation of internship or mentorship programs, or other efforts to develop long-term job skills and career pathways for the region’s workforce. The award submission focused on CNM’s Nursing program, which has long been a critical workforce development program for the community and state, and even more so during the pandemic. 

“We are truly honored to be recognized by Albuquerque Economic Development and the Albuquerque Forward Fund for excellence in workforce development,” said CNM President Tracy Hartzler. “Every day at CNM, we’re striving to support the wellbeing and success of our students, community, and economy. Our Nursing program is a shining example of how CNM provides excellent education and training in vital workforce programs that serve the needs of our community and state. We are also extremely grateful to our many healthcare partners in the region who contribute in so many ways to the success of our Nursing program and its positive impacts statewide.”

Diane Evans-Prior, Academic Affairs Director for the CNM Nursing program, said, “The faculty and I are really excited to have the Nursing program acknowledged through an economic lens. We’re always trying to ensure that what we do makes Albuquerque stronger and elevates the quality of our community.”

Leean Kravitz, Chair of the Albuquerque Forward Fund, said that during a challenging year, the award presenters were excited to see “organizations and individuals come together in some truly inspiring and creative ways to support each other and our region.”

Right now, CNM accepts 288 students into one of three Nursing programs each year—a traditional Registered Nurse (RN) degree path, a Licensed Practical Nurse-to-RN transition program, and a concurrent Bachelor of Science Nursing degree option through a partnership with the New Mexico Nursing Education Consortium and the University of New Mexico. Overall, the CNM programs have an 81.36 percent retention rate. Students in the NMNEC option earn the AASN and the BSN at the same time.

According to Diane, the demand for nurses will only increase going forward. Data published on says the need for RNs is projected to grow 12 percent nationally between now and 2028. COVID-19 has also driven record-high levels of job demand and pay incentives for nurses throughout the United States.

“We believe this demand combined with CNM’s exemplary nurse training programs generates significant long-term workforce capabilities in New Mexico, in a career field that is rewarding, highly lucrative and secure for our students,” Diane says. 

To ensure the program supports all students in New Mexico, CNM recently moved from an academically competitive to a non-competitive application process (all eligible students are put into a lottery) to provide more opportunities to a more diverse range of applicants. Within one year, the majority of nursing students belonged to a minority race or ethnicity group while the program saw stability in overall program grade point average, retention, and board pass rates. 

CNM also works hard to keep costs down for students. The cost of CNM’s nursing program has been about $5,200, which is inclusive of tuition, books, fees, and computer resources. CNM has also provided $412,839 in scholarships to nursing students since 2017, helping to significantly offset the costs of education even further. When students graduate, local pay usually starts between $23-$27 per hour. 

Diane says the program is proud to help students secure jobs that are varied, dynamic, and provide a solid long-term career path. More broadly, she says the program is also proud to provide an essential service. 

“We love being able to support our students while simultaneously supporting the larger healthcare needs of our state,” she says. 

This is the second year in a row that CNM has won the Excellence in Workforce Development Award. Last year, CNM Ingenuity’s Deep Dive Coding Bootcamp earned the distinction.