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Faces of CNM: Joanna Brenner

Joanna returned to school after 12 years and has found her path to a successful career through CNM’s Electrical Trades program.
Faces of CNM: Joanna Brenner
Joanna is the only woman in her graduating class and hopes her story will inspire other women to enter the electrical trades field.

Jul 25, 2019

Joanna Brenner worked as a dental assistant and waited tables for 12 years before realizing that she needed a change of pace. Her interest in the electrical trades was sparked by her mother, who needed help fixing things around the house.

“I reached a certain age and I knew that I needed to change my life,” Joanna says. “My mother would ask ‘can you fix this? can you fix that?’ and I love working with my hands. That’s when I found the Electrical Trades program at CNM.”

Joanna had the preconceived notion that a woman couldn’t do electrical work but quickly realized that this simply isn’t true. She says that CNM’s Electrical Trades program is very inclusive and that her instructors have been a strong support system for her throughout her time at CNM.

“It’s been awesome. The hands-on experience alone is worth it,” she says. “My instructors have years of experience in this trade and they have made it a point to pass every piece of knowledge on to me and my classmates.”

Joanna says that one of her favorite parts of the Electrical Trades program at CNM has been the emphasis on community-based work. For example, Joanna and her classmates recently helped restore old electrical systems at Mandy’s Farms, a nonprofit that supports people with disabilities.

Prior to graduating, Joanna received a job offer from Intel.
Prior to graduating, Joanna received a job offer from Intel.

Now, Joanna is at the top of her class and has received a job offer from Intel to work as a Facilities Technician where she will apply her electrical trades skills to a growing industry in Albuquerque.

“I never expected anything like this to happen for me,” she says. “The money and the benefits at Intel are incredible. I couldn’t be more grateful to everyone here at CNM for providing me this opportunity to grow as a person.”

Carlos Nevarez, full-time instructor in the Electrical Trades program, says he is so proud of Joanna for her accomplishments and her eagerness to learn.

“She’s the best,” Carlos says. “As one of the few women in the program, she has proved that anyone can be successful in this program. I hope that other women see her and become inspired to enter this field of work.”

According to Carlos, there is a continued high demand for electrical trades workers in New Mexico.

“Right now, the industry is booming,” Carlos says. “There’s so much happening right now. There’s so much work available for all trades workers. We can’t keep up with the demand. The industry needs skilled trades people.”

Joanna says she couldn’t be happier with her decision to return to school and upgrade her quality of life.

Learn more about CNM’s Electrical Trades programs.