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New Mexico Community College, University Architecture School Team Up to Build Modular, Sustainable, Affordable Homes


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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., March 29, 2018  -- CNM Ingenuity, the enterprise arm of Central New Mexico Community College (CNM), is launching a program to provide paid internships for CNM students to build "ecoMOD" homes - energy efficient, high-performing and cost-effective modular homes that will be placed in Albuquerque as affordable housing options.

CNM Ingenuity is partnering on the effort with the University of New Mexico (UNM) School of Architecture, including professor John Quale, the founder and director of the award-winning ecoMOD Project.

One home per year over the next two years will be built by paid interns. 

The first prefabricated ecoMOD home as part of the CNM-UNM partnership is currently being built and will be provided to Habitat for Humanity for placement in a low-income neighborhood near downtown Albuquerque. Then, one home per year over the next two years will be built by paid interns. These homes will be placed in the vicinity of CNM's Main Campus as affordable housing options for community members, with plans to scale up the model across the state.

The UNM School of Architecture will provide construction drawings and documents for the ecoMOD homes and CNM's trades programs will oversee the construction of the homes and the paid student internships.

Quale's ecoMOD Project won the Research and Development Award in 2013 from Architect Magazine, published by the American Institute of
Architects, and was a finalist for the World Habitat Award.

"Our focus is on creating sustainable, affordable and prefabricated homes," Quale said. "This generation of students is enthusiastic about this mission, and in particular its relevance in New Mexico. I'm looking forward to a long-term partnership." The long-term goal for this collaborative effort is to make it sustainable for the future by establishing a network of partners across the state, including homebuilders, contractors, state organizations and non-profit housing organizations, that can work with CNM Ingenuity and ecoMOD to build and distribute units while incorporating paid student internships. 

"This generation of students is enthusiastic about this mission, and in particular its relevance in New Mexico. I'm looking forward to a long-term partnership." 

In addition to providing affordable housing options in New Mexico, the internships would bolster the pipeline for a highly skilled construction workforce with experience using cutting edge, sustainable construction materials and technologies.

"This model has tremendous potential to grow and have positive impacts in so many ways," said Kyle Lee, executive director of CNM Ingenuity. "It would provide more opportunities for students and boost the quality of our construction workforce while helping more New Mexicans
live in high-quality, affordable homes."

CNM students majoring in carpentry, construction management, electrical, plumbing and HVAC are eligible for the internships. PNM, New Mexico's largest energy provider, awarded a $200,000 grant to support this effort. The two-year grant will fund 15 CNM internships and five internships for community members seeking work in the construction industry.

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