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Ever since its creation, the New Mexico Higher Education Department’s mission has been to increase overall college enrollment in New Mexico. With the knowledge that not every student will explore the traditional brick-and-mortar college, the New Mexico Higher Education Department also works to improve the quality and availability of online schools in New Mexico.

Higher Learning Initiatives

Adult Education and the Workforce

Much of the work of the department focuses on educating adults over the age of 25, due to the fact that, according to the department website, more than one in five adults over the age of 25 in New Mexico have not finished high school. With the help of public and private universities, colleges, and online colleges, the department aims to provide adult education to this segment of the New Mexico population. With the help of the department and various universities, colleges, and online colleges, 23,248 adults received educational services through 27 adult education administrative centers. As of 2010, more than 1,250 of those students have obtained jobs; 2,691 have passed the GED; and 1,050 have enrolled in post secondary education.

Educational Partnerships

The Department has worked alongside two-year and four-year colleges to create incentive programs for students to attend post secondary institutions. Many of these incentive programs incorporate the use of technology and online courses in order to introduce affordable, efficient college options for students. Furthermore, the department has introduced policies that will increase the staff capacity in New Mexico higher education institutions to monitor and implement state policies in online colleges. Many of the programs will focus on creating short-term, career-oriented training programs in courses like business, cosmetology, allied health, trade, and other technical fields in online college courses.

Workforce Development

New Mexico’s Center on Education and the Workforce reports that by 2018, nearly 61% of all job openings will require workers with at least some college education; 31% will require a bachelor’s degree or better, and 30% will require some college or a two-year associate degree. That said, the department has created programs and policies that encourage workers to pursue continued education through Master of Business Administration programs and other career-centric majors and online courses. The focus is on statewide economic development and specific workforce and education priorities for the whole state. A workforce training committee that is composed of college deans, community and business representatives, economic developers, and key community leaders, was created to develop training and curricula for workforce needs in the state. Many of these initiatives are completed by creating more online college course options.

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