Southeast New Mexico College: Primed to Meet the Needs of Eddy County

Southeast New Mexico College: Primed to Meet the Needs of Eddy County Main Photo

1 Aug 2022


The establishment of Southeast New Mexico College (SENMC) all started with Eddy County leaders listening to the goals and wishes of the community for a locally-controlled college. The transition and separation of SENMC from the New Mexico State University system is an outstanding example of the speed at which government can work when there is cooperation to reach a common goal. It took a mere year to progress from concept to vote, and SENMC completed its separation and transition with its “independence recognition” event on April 11, 2022. Registration is open for classes and hands-on training programs that begin on August 17, 2022.

“The involvement of the community was the driving force behind initiating our transition to independence as Southeast New Mexico College,” said Mike McNair, Director of Workforce & Community Education, SENMC. “Mayor Dale Janway assembled the Higher Education Task Force, made up of city, county, business, and public school district leaders, as well as our local state representative, to assess whether we could better meet the needs? of our stakeholders as an independent college.” 

The results of their investigation prompted a vote by the Task Force on December 4, 2020, to support the move to independence. New Mexico House Bill 212 - Remake NMSU Carlsbad as Community College, sponsored by Rep. Cathrynn Brown and Sen. James Townsend, was approved by the legislature and signed by the Governor on April 6, 2021.

“The discovery process by the Task Force revealed numerous concerns regarding the ability to use resources managed by the NMSU system to benefit southeast New Mexico,” said McNair. “With independence from that system comes local decisions made by the SENMC Board of Trustees to determine how those resources will be used.”

Southeast New Mexico College Campus“Community involvement will be essential to SENMC,” continued McNair. “The assessment of the higher education needs of Southeast New Mexico will be based primarily upon input from our stakeholders, regional industry and job market analyses, and where students want to go from here.” 

Because decision-making for Southeast New Mexico College will be locally managed, the college will be better able to meet the community's education and workforce development needs.

“Awarding Associates degrees and skills-based certificates, as well as arranging student transfers to other institutions with advanced degree programs, will continue to be our priorities. With local decision-making, we anticipate being able to reciprocate the community’s faith and support that has been shown to our campus by increasing opportunities for success through expanded academic programs, expanded certificate programs to produce skilled workers for the workforce, and arranging seamless transfers to other institutions of higher education.”

Partnering with the community has made SENMC a reality tailored to Eddy County's needs. Surveys to gather information about workforce development were sponsored and sent out by Carlsbad Department of Development and Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce. Working partnerships have been established with Carlsbad Small Business Department, Carlsbad Municipal School District, New Mexico Workforce, and others. “SENMC is reciprocating by creating professional development educational opportunities to address current and future professional development needs,” said McNair.

In January 2022, the new Southeast New Mexico College Board of Trustees members took their oath of office at the Eddy County District Courthouse. This spring’s graduates will be NMSU-C graduates, but as of next fall, diplomas will be from SENMC.

Register today for classes and hands-on training programs that begin on August 17, 2022!

For information about currently available workforce development initiatives and programs, contact Carlsbad Department of Development: 575-887-6562 or email.