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“The only constant is change,” said Greek philosopher Heraclitus. And indeed, that is true for The Bridge of Southern New Mexico in 2022.
Three of our outstanding board members retired from their work, and with it, their positions on the board: Mariette Mealor (White Sands Missile Range), Chuck McMahon (Doña Ana County), and Clay Doyle (El Paso Electric). As leaders in our community, as well as our board, it’s important to acknowledge their sizable contributions to so many great things in our community.
Mariette, for many years, oversaw the U.S. Army’s GEMS (Gains in the Education of Math and Science) program at WSMR that provided a week of exciting hands-on learning experiences for middle- and high-school students to spark their creativity and future career aspirations in STEM-related fields. She is a passionate advocate for the potential of our students and sought more ways to attract local talent to the amazing careers at WSMR.
Chuck’s role with county government enabled him to focus on the broad and diverse needs of our students and families in both rural and urban areas, especially the colonias. He wanted to do whatever we could to bring more opportunities to students, regardless of where they lived, and helped recruit employers and opportunities for more than 500 students in internships throughout the county last summer.
Clay has always cared enormously about education and outcomes. He served as a board member for not just The Bridge, but also the Children’s Reading Alliance. He, too, believes in the potential of our students and worked with Doña Ana Community College to start the Electrical Lineworker Program, a direct career pathway to well-paid lineworker jobs with El Paso Electric.
It’s a great privilege to partner with these and other leaders on our board who put the students of our community in the center of every conversation on how to work together for their benefit, to provide whatever they need to succeed in education and future employment. I hope those of you who know them or meet them in this new season of life join me in thanking them for their creativity, their passion and their commitment to our community.
The other change that’s still to come in 2022 will be a new leader for The Bridge.
After five-and-a-half years of leading this incredible organization (for the second time) and working with an incredible set of partners all over our community and state, my husband and I will be moving out of state. The Bridge’s board has begun a search for a new leader to continue driving forward this work that has led the state in so many ways and is critical to the long-term wellbeing of our children, our families and our county.
In the short term, my role is unchanged. One good thing to come out of the pandemic is the reality that we can work from anywhere in remote environments. All of the work underway will continue unabated.
In fact, we just launched a rebrand of our education-to-employment one-stop website that can help connect our students and our families to the best possible careers in our community. Bridge2Careers.org contains the same great information as New Mexico True Talent but is now more closely aligned to The Bridge’s brand.
The website, available in both English and Spanish, includes a host of free resources about career exploration, preparation and education, along with the very specific skills and credentials needed for some of the best jobs in our region. If you’ve not yet explored this incredible website, it’s well worth your time! Please check it out and share it with others.
There are amazing things ahead for our students and our community in 2022. New faces and new initiatives will continue to ensure we open new doors and seize new opportunities that benefit all of Doña Ana County.
Tracey Bryan is president/CEO of The Bridge of Southern New Mexico. She can be reached at TraceyBryan@thebridgeofsnm.org.