Luna starts new certificate programs

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By David Giuliani

Luna Community College is launching four new certificate programs in an attempt to provide students with more opportunities, officials said.

None of the programs would require more staff, they said.

Recently, Luna’s Board of Trustees approved certificates in manicures and pedicures; math, science and engineering technology; and political science. They also agreed to add a concentration in the school’s criminal justice certificate program.

Dan Romero, director of vocational programs, said there is a demand for a manicure-pedicure certificate. He said Luna would add classes that would be required for a manicuring and pedicuring state license, which involves 350 hours of instruction.

Asked if Luna had a room with proper ventilation for such an activity, Romero said he believed it did.

Mike Adams, director of math, science and engineering technology, urged the board to vote for a certificate in those subjects -- something he said was requested by local schools.

“If we give the high school students something — a certificate — maybe they would go on after that and get a degree,” he said, adding that the program would add such classes as calculus.

He said he had discussed such a program with organizations such as Sandia National Laboratory and Intel.

“Companies are looking for people with stronger math and science backgrounds,” he said.

As for the the criminal justice certificate program, the trustees agreed to add a concentration in emergency management, which would consist of classes such as introduction to emergency management, introduction to homeland security and managing emergency response. The existing concentrations are in law enforcement and corrections.

“Criminal justice has been a very successful program,” said Vidal Martinez, vice president for instruction and student services. “Officers are asking for classes in homeland security and emergency response.”

Officials expect the expanded offerings to bring more students to Luna and fill up existing classes, so more instructors aren’t needed for the new certificate programs.

The trustees unanimously voted for the programs, but Trustee Levi Alcon said he wanted the college to keep a close eye on the effects of the new classes.

“We need to keep track to make sure they are successful. If not, they’ll be a burden and hurt other programs,” he said.

In another development, Luna is looking at starting an instructional program in agriculture, which would give students associate of science degrees and certificates in animal science.

Alcon said he was pushing for such a program.

“We’re trying to help the outside communities, being the way our economy is going,” he said.

Before, he said, ranches were passed down to the next generation. But he said many younger people are going elsewhere for better-paying jobs. “We need to find ways to make a living in farming and ranching in this day and age,” he said.

Board Chairman Ambrose Castellano agreed.

“We need to start this program. We have a lot of rural communities,” Castellano said.