CNM providing opportunities for CNM’s refugee and immigrant students facing difficulties

By Shakir Farid Abdullah, Staff Reporter

CNM refugee and immigrant students
encounter new difficulties when trying to
have their degrees recognized or transferable
in America.

There are standards that have to be met for
evaluating credits to be transferable for students,
said Brad Moore, director of Communications
and Media Relations for CNM.

CNM always looks for ways to assist students
and verify credits that are transferable, he said.

Yosef Bader, nursing major, said that no
one will recognize his bachelor’s degree in
Chemistry from the Mutah University in Jordan
or give him a job.

“All of us are the same. The new immigrants
and refugees are facing the same situation,”
Bader said.

Beatrice Villegas, program director for
the Center of Refugee Settlement and Support
at Catholic Charities, said that this is a system’s

Whatever the United States education system
standards are at this time requires looking at
them from a macro level and figuring out what it
requires from refugees and immigrants seeking
transferable degrees, she said.

“Things cannot change immediately, but we
can extend our concerns to the governor and our
state representatives,” she said.

This will enable them to figure out ways
to provide resources, which will assist clients,
some of which who are CNM students, in
achieving transferable degrees and successful
employment, Villegas said.

Catholic Charities clients often become frustrated
with the difficulties they face, she said.

“We say, Look, we live in this system, let’s work
with what we can change, and focus on the little steps
in order to achieve the bigger goals in attaining higher
education, degrees and securing employment opportunities,”
she said.

Their hope is to build a solid connection between
CNM antheir education director Kris Degenhardt
at Catholic Charities in order to assist refugees and
immigrants to become successful in completing ESL
programs, Villegas said.

“Ours is at a very base level, and if our clients are
able to attend CNM’s ESL courses, then I believe we will
have a 50 percent increase in the success rate of our clients
finding employment, achieving a higher education,
degree, and a better quality of life in America,” she said.

CNM has many programs established to help curb
the difficulties for many of the students, Moore said.

CNM Connect is a program engineered to assist all
students find efficient ways to develop and build a solid
approach in achieving desired degrees, and be on the
path towards a productive and successful career, he said.

Advisors and achievement coaches at CNM Connect
has programs such as the Competency Based Education
program, Credit for Prior Learning program, and ESL
Nursing Assistance program which are established to
assist students, he said.

Competency Based Education, provides a program
tract where a student advances forward in the program at
his or her own speed, he said.

Credit for Prior Learning program’s goal, is to
increase student retention and reduce time for completion
of degree and it is an academic credit awarded towards
a Certificate of Associates Degree program, Moore said.

Those who can use this program, are those
who completed AP or CLEP exam, have military
transcripts, have license or certification, pass
challenge exams, and uses course substitution or
waivers to achieve their degrees quicker, Moore

The ESL Nursing Assistance Program, is a
new option funded by CNM’s Integrated Basic
Education Skills Training (I-BEST) Grant, he said.

It provides an extra class, where students can
build and strengthen their communication skills,
medical vocabulary, receive extra help with class
content, and test preparation, he said.

Bader said that this program will make it
possible for him to get a job soon.

“There is a higher cause here at CNM and we
know that refugees, immigrants, and any of the
lives of CNM students can improve if they can get
into CNM, take classes, and earn a degree, and
people here are very passionate about this,” he said.

The Center of Refugee Settlement and Support
at Catholic Charities is a non-profit agency of five
centers in the Albuquerque metropolitan area that
provides housing, community support, GED/ESL/
Civics courses, and assistance to immigrants, refugees,
and citizens in Albuquerque, Villegas said.

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