For the past five years, Microsoft’s Partners in Learning program has been working with New Mexico’s Office of the Governor, Public Education Department and four projects to develop programs and opportunities that would help students revitalize their rural communities while also giving them workforce-ready skills to prepare them for life after high school. In Loving, New Mexico students have been gaining hands-on skills in the business of home construction. Today, we are celebrating the completion of the community’s first student-built home that they have worked on over the past year.
This project was born out of a need; New Mexico has one of the highest rural poverty rankings in the nation, and students continually move elsewhere after graduation to find greater opportunities in urban areas. Through this program, students are learning valuable skills and are also helping to move the local economy in a positive direction. The hope is that through these initiatives they will create a self sustainable community – one where students will want to come back to and build their own lives there. You can read more about the New Mexico project here and learn more about the importance of partnerships in schools and in communities.
This is a huge milestone for the students, teachers, administrators and the community involved with this project. These students have been able to address a real need within the community, which has been a shortage of homes and those with the skills to build them. Students have had the opportunity to manage the whole construction project from start to end – from sketching blueprints, developing timelines for plotting construction progress to managing subcontractors’ schedules, and learning about construction financing from the local bank. The students also receive hands-on technology training and are equipped with Microsoft Office Visio to draft floor plans and Microsoft Office Project to manage all aspects of the construction project.
Please join me in congratulating the students of Loving High School, as well as the community leaders and their teachers for coming along side them!