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HomeNewsGordon Bernell Charter School Unveils New Career Development Center

Gordon Bernell Charter School Unveils New Career Development Center

Gordon Bernell Charter School celebrated a momentous occasion with the grand opening of its new Career Development Center. This event marks a new chapter in the school’s ongoing mission to provide comprehensive educational and career opportunities to non-traditional students, including those who are currently incarcerated.

Founded in 2008, Gordon Bernell Charter School has long been dedicated to supporting incarcerated students seeking to improve their education and career prospects. The school supports students in 9th through 12th grade and has an adult education program to serve as many New Mexicans as possible.

Executive Director of Gordon Bernell, Beth Dorado, said this new center is part of the school’s commitment to expanding its services and providing students with the tools they need to succeed both within and outside of incarceration.

Dorado emphasized the importance of this new center, saying, “The Career Development Center represents a crucial step in our mission to offer hope and opportunities for positive change. By providing access to career pathways, we are helping our students build a brighter future.”

During the opening event, students played an active role in leading tours of the new facility, showcasing the various resources and opportunities available. The center features state-of-the-art classrooms, vocational training areas, and spaces designed to support career exploration and development.

On the walk through Gordon Bernell’s halls, on the way to the new Career Development Center, visitors are met by a giant mural painted by students, adorned with poetry they wrote themselves. Dorado said this artistic expression not only beautifies the space but also symbolizes the creativity and potential of the students. She added that the wall will be repainted annually with new poetry from students.

As part of their work to give students what they need to succeed after incarceration and graduation, Gordon Bernell Charter School has established multiple partnerships across New Mexico to enhance the career prospects of its students.

“For many of our students, fundamental life skills that are necessary to survive and even thrive post-incarceration are often lacking,” Dorado said. “To counter this, we have created opportunities for students to learn these skills and employ them in real-life situations.”

Dorado said collaborations with the New Mexico Department of Corrections and the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions have been instrumental in creating internship opportunities and professional development programs. Through these collaborations, the school connects students with local businesses for internships, helping them develop professional skills and gain practical experience. These opportunities are designed to give students a “hand up,” Dorado said, preparing them for successful reentry into society.

Dorado said Gordon Bernell ensures that mental health professionals are available to meet the needs of their students. The small, dedicated staff works tirelessly to support students, addressing both academic and personal challenges. Dorado celebrated the impact of these partnerships, saying, “Our collaboration with local businesses and organizations is vital. It allows us to give our students practical experience and a ‘hand up’ to prepare them for life after incarceration.”

The Career Development Center is the culmination of both dreams and hard work. For Dorado, Gordon Bernell Charter School’s ongoing evolution and its commitment to serving a broader range of non-traditional students is a personal mission, and she intends to continue the school’s growth. The school’s long-term goals include the creation of affordable housing to help students maintain stability and focus on their education.

“Access to education represents a crucial first step toward a brighter future. Our role in providing this access is integral to the positive changes and hope that our students seek to achieve,” Dorado said.

Gordon Bernell Charter School celebrated the grand opening of its new Career Development Center on May 17, marking a significant expansion in its mission to provide comprehensive educational and career opportunities for non-traditional students, including those who are incarcerated. The school, led by Executive Director Beth Dorado, has established vital partnerships with organizations across New Mexico to offer students practical experience, mental health support, and life skills training necessary for successful reentry into society.
Gordon Bernell’s May 17 Career Development Center ribbon cutting was well attended. The building was bustling as students gave tours and visitors were able to experience the work that happens at the school.