Running Start for Careers is a coordinated public-private effort to decrease New Mexico's high school drop-out rate while creating and integrated system critical to our state's sustainable economic success. Nusenda Credit Union has played an integral role in the program, originally created by Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry. The Running Start for Careers program is available at no cost to high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Through participation in the program, students can earn dual-credit hours at their high school and at Central New Mexico Community College (CNM) while obtaining job skills and on-the-job-training from industry experts in film, finance, healthcare, hotel and tourism, utilities, surveying, and lab sciences.
As a member of the Running Start for Careers program, Nusenda developed the Financial Services Career Exploration course, which focuses on careers available within the financial industry, including tellers, loan officers, human resource professionals, and more. Once a student completes the Financial Services Exploration course, they are eligible to apply for a paid internship with the credit union where they receive a compensation of over $9.00 per hour, along with additional high school and college credit. Since the program was founded, the credit union has employed up to 10 interns per semester, more than any other organization in the state participating in the Running Start for Careers program.
Nusenda was also instrumental in the Running Start for Careers program receiving AmeriCorps funding from the Corporation for National Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency that administers the AmeriCorps program. The additional funding will integrate the financial capabilities training program into all the Running Start for Careers classes to enhance fundamental life skills for participants. All students participating in the program will learn financial capabilities whether they are taking the film, culinary, or lab science courses. AmeriCorps members will also be placed as “success coaches” at high schools, where they will identify students who could benefit from the career track, mentor students who are already participating, and ensure that they have support to balance the other demands of their lives and families while staying on track with industry training and courses. Nusenda has long been committed to the principles of education and community impact, and this work turns those commitments into reality.