New Mexico high school students will soon have the opportunity to enroll in film and media courses and receive two-semester certificates of completion in hopes of working in the state’s film industry, the Public Education Department (PED) announced today at a news conference at Film and Media Day at the Legislature.
Over the past six months, the PED and the NM Higher Education Department collaborated with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 480 to provide new coursework and training for the state’s high school students in the area of film and media. The proposed curriculum would provide dual credit coursework for students at high school and community college levels in New Mexico.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed by all three groups today at the Film and Media Day news conference. The MOU describes the areas of work of each agency and provides that IATSE members and other film industry professionals interested in teaching these new programs may be certified under PED licensing regulations.
PED will hold a workshop for any New Mexico high schools interested in piloting this new curriculum on Wednesday, March 4, 2009. During the workshop, the school administrators will meet with representatives from PED, HED and IATSE to discuss the implementation of the proposed curriculum. Schools will take this information back to their districts, meet with the district leadership, and decide if they will participate in the pilot project. PED hopes to begin this curriculum in the 2009-2010 school year.
“This new curriculum will provide a relevant and hands-on course of study for our high school students,” said Secretary of Education Dr. Veronica C. Garcia. “New Mexico can train workers for this burgeoning new industry and keep many of our students in the state for well-paying jobs. I want to thank Lisa Strout, Director of the New Mexico Film Office, Jon Hendry, Business Agent for IATSE Local 480, and Melissa Lomax, PED Program Manager for the Career Technical Bureau for their dedicated work on this project.”
Also at the news conference, there was a premiere of a recently completed a commercial informing high school students about job opportunities in the industry.
Research shows that 5,989 direct film, media and ancillary jobs were created in New Mexico in 2007. In addition to the many New Mexicans who already work in this lucrative industry, our state’s high school students, when provided proper training, can fill many of these positions as well.
“The film industry is one of the most exciting job growth areas in New Mexico. Today’s film education initiative helps us to better prepare our students to participate in the digital economy,” said New Mexico Cabinet Secretary of Higher Education Dr. Reed Dasenbrock. “We need more New Mexicans with more degrees at every level – including what’s known in the film industry as below and above the line - to meet the demands of the 21st century workforce, in New Mexico and beyond.”