UNM Taos Branch Natural Resources Center

College Pathways to Careers Center
Total Requested Amount: $ 4,275,000

The University of New Mexico’s Taos Branch College Pathways to Careers Center capital project will construct a one-story building of approximately 14,100 gross square feet (GSF), located within the Taos Klauer Campus. The new facility will provide pre-college to college to career preparation services that will expose students to real-world job applications. This facility will house specialized classrooms for digital and media arts, computer simulation and 3D modeling; currently not available in the Taos area or at Klauer Campus. With the full development of this facility, UNM-Taos will close out the use of any leased spaces located in downtown Taos and, after consolidation of facilities, will function only in University-owned facilities.

The UNM Taos Branch is dedicated to working with the northern New Mexico community by providing specialized educational services that prepare students to enroll at UNM-Taos. Specialized educational services lead to successful pathways to certificates, industry recognized credentials, associates degrees, focused pathways to 4-year college degree and careers. The Pathways Center will incorporate pre-college to college programs developed by the No. 1 NM state ranked Taos Education and Career Center, currently housed in leased spaced in the Town of Taos, that prepares High School Equivalency (HSE), adult education students for college success and beyond, and career preparation; education to career pathways programs, currently housed in leased space in the Town of Taos, that incorporate UNM-Taos’ Career Services Office and the Center for Business Innovation to provide joint educational and training services (soft skill preparation, incubators, and internships) for local and New Mexico industry careers. Relocating these successful and growing programs will link students to college and jobs while sharing existing resources at UNM Klauer Campus. 

The Pathways Center will further develop partnerships to preserve historical documents and media related to the natural and historic resources of Northern New Mexico as a part of the University’s developing natural resources program. This program currently collaborates with area Universities related to its partnership with the USDA. UNM Taos has experienced great success with placing its Climate Corps Change students into career pathways and employment in New Mexico and beyond. The Taos Campus core curriculum encourages intellectual development in seven areas of study: writing and speaking, social and behavioral sciences, mathematics, physical and natural sciences, humanities, fine arts, and languages. The Pathways Center is designed to provide transferable core curriculum in problems based instruction as part of the required course work in many academic areas, with additional flourishing offerings for Media Technologies. 

Students will additionally develop real-world career technical skills as they learn to access, manage, utilize, and preserve documents for future generations, create digital media projects, and expand their skills in other career pathways (i.e., digital graphic design, solar technologies). Student experience and certification in programs in the Natural Resource track will help them gain immediate entry into the workforce. The partnership with area communities and with governmental agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management, the National Forest Service, USDA, and the Soil and Water Conservation District will provide an opportunity to gather and preserve documentation, digitize materials and ledgers related to water and land use. 

Job opportunities for students being trained in this Center will be immediately available with agencies such as the BLM, U.S. Forest Service, and multiple recreation sites such as Taos Ski Valley. Students will also be trained to be employed in the local and State level production industry with the skills they gain in our growing Digital Media Arts program, wherein some students have already received recognition by companies such as Canon and Sony. The timing is paramount to both provide this rare educational opportunity and preserve the State’s valuable acequia cultural and environmental documents that may be lost as the community elders who have protected them have no resource to preserve their legacy for generations to come. The Center will become an invaluable State resource while remaining a UNM-Taos learning facility and enriching the student cultural experience that is rooted in New Mexico.

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