About the NM EDGE
The New Mexico EDGE (Education Designed to Generate Excellence in the Public Sector) is an umbrella organization operated through NM Cooperative Extension Service under which the County College (founded with NM Association of Counties), the NM Certified Public Manager® Program, and other continuing education certification programs are administered. The idea behind the NM EDGE is to expand training programs beyond county government into other areas of the public sector such as municipal entities, state agencies and other public-oriented organizations that have a need for specialized training. Curriculum committees are established to help NM EDGE identify educational gaps and propose classes to fill those gaps. NM EDGE is a collaborative effort among its strategic partners and potential strategic partners in New Mexico's public sector.
With the purpose of encouraging "better government through education", County College began in 2002 as a dream of the late Sam Montoya, the former executive director of the New Mexico Association of Counties, who asked NMSU's College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences' Cooperative Extension Service to work with them to develop an educational program for New Mexico's county officials and employees.
In 2008, the NMSU Department of Government became a regular partner in County College and offered to develop the nationally recognized Certified Public Manager® (CPM) program in conjunction with Cooperative Extension Service's County College. With assistance from the Director of the Master in Public Administration (MPA) program at NMSU, a new core curriculum committee was developed and began work on the backbone of the NM CPM curriculum. After developing the NM CPM affiliate-specific curriculum committees were created to address educational programs to meet their operational and professional development needs. Customized curriculum continues to be developed for groups requesting a certification program that can tie into the NM CPM.
Since 2003 when classes were first offered, 5,000 class units have been delivered with nearly 2,000 in 2010 alone. Participants in County College & NM CPM classes receive NMSU Continuing Education Units for each three-hour class unit.
Of those attending classes, nearly 100 individuals have earned the Certified Public Official designation, the first level of the certification program by completing 18 classes in fields such as knowing your government, management and human resources. Several students have also completed the second level certification to earn the Certified Public Supervisor designation and many of those students are working towards earning their Certified Public Manager® designation.
With the help and support of Dr. Jon Boren, Associate Dean and Director of NM CES and Steve Kopelman, NMAC Executive Director, the program continues to grow and evolve. Under the umbrella of NM EDGE, the opportunity is emerging to help other public sector entities have a better educated workforce and thus Better Government through Education.