State, City of Albuquerque, CNM Announce Partnership to Co-Locate New Mexico Media Academy, CNM Film Programs at Albuquerque Rail Yards
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham speaking, along with Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller center, and CNM President Tracy Hartlzer right, speaking at the announcement of the New Mexico Media Academy

State, City of Albuquerque, CNM Announce Partnership to Co-Locate New Mexico Media Academy, CNM Film Programs at Albuquerque Rail Yards

The location will serve as the academy's primary hub for entertainment industry job training and workforce development and house all of CNM’s Film Production and Digital Media programs
March 30, 2023

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham along with CNM President Tracy Hartzler and Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller announced Wednesday that the downtown Albuquerque Rail Yards will be the new headquarters for the New Mexico Media Academy and the new home for all of CNM’s Film Production and Digital Media programs. This collaborative workforce development effort will expand capacity and equip New Mexico residents and CNM students with the advanced skills they need to access great jobs in the film, television and digital media industries.

Gov. Lujan Grisham and the Legislature have committed capital and operating funds to further workforce training and on-the-job internships in the state's thriving film and television industry.

“State and city partnerships like these are how we create transformative change for New Mexicans. Our students will be trained by the best-in-the-industry and on state-of-the-art technology to further cultivate the film and digital media workforce and holistic ecosystem we are building in New Mexico,” Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said.

This new initiative aims to meet the increasing need for local professionals in the industry. Film production spending generated $1.5 billion in direct spend into the state’s economy in the past two fiscal years – with most of that coming from outside the state. A record 109 productions (55 films and 54 television) were filmed across the state last year, including AMC’s Better Call Saul, Netflix’s Stranger Things, FOX’s The Cleaning Lady, Peacock’s Poker Face, and Amazon’s Outer Range.

“For more than 20 years, CNM has been supporting the growing workforce needs of the film industry in New Mexico,” CNM President Tracy Hartzler said. “We’re honored to join the State of New Mexico and the City of Albuquerque in this groundbreaking partnership to increase New Mexicans’ access to high-quality training that leads to great jobs and economic growth for the film and digital media industry. By co-locating CNM’s film and digital media programs with the New Mexico Media Academy at the Rail Yards, we’ll build state-of-the-art training and production facilities to maximize the public’s investment in growing the film industry and revitalizing Albuquerque’s downtown communities.

Left to right: CNM Vice President of Workforce and Community Success, Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, CNM Governing Board Member Nancy Baca, CNM President Tracy Hartzler, CNM Governing Board Member Annette Chavez y De La Cruz, CNM Governing Board Member Robert Schoenfelder, and CNM Governing Board Member Virgina Trujillo posing for a photo after the historic announcement.

The New Mexico Media Academy will be constructed in the Boiler Room location of the Rail Yards. With an expected completion date for the renovation set for fall 2025, the facility will offer industry-standard, hands-on, and craft-specific workforce training and job competencies for the film, television, and digital media industry, including emerging focus areas such as virtual and extended reality and volumetric production.

"The Rail Yards is an anchor for the surrounding community and downtown," Mayor Tim Keller said. "This is the culmination of years of intentional reinvestment. We look forward to having the New Mexico Media Academy be an active part of our community as coming generations of film professionals get trained right here at home for local careers."

Fifteen New Mexico post-secondary film and media institutions across the state, including CNM, have already agreed upon the core curriculum for students. There are also plans in motion for a NMMA creative campus in Las Cruces, which will partner with New Mexico State University and Doña Ana Community College.

The NMMA is centered on collaborative partnerships, with an ultimate goal of admitting 1,000 students annually. New Mexico Film Partners, Netflix, NBCUniversal, and 828 Productions will collaborate with NMMA and offer paid apprenticeships to students. IATSE Local 480 will offer hours toward union membership for students who complete the apprenticeship, providing a faster start to their careers.

The NMMA will house:

  • Traditional sound stages
  • Volumetric stages
  • Classrooms, offices, labs, post-production, and flex spaces
  • Industry-standard equipment and technology

The film industry now supports some 8,000 jobs across the state and the median wage of a film worker in New Mexico is about $32 an hour.

Learn more about CNM’s Film Technician, Video Production and Digital Media programs