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Training programs at Northern New Mexico College and UNM-LA prepare students for work with LANL and N3B

Students entering Northern New Mexico College's Radiation Control and Protection (RTC) program, UNM-Los Alamos RCT Bootcamp participants, and representatives from Northern New Mexico College, Los Alamos National Labs, N3B, and UNM- Los Alamos pose for a photo during a press conference July 29.

NMDWS funding will support training for high-demand jobs at Los Alamos National Laboratory

 Training programs at Northern New Mexico College and UNM-LA prepare students for work with the Laboratory and N3B

[SANTA FE, N.M., July 29, 2019] Funding from the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions will help prepare the workforce of the future for well-paid careers at Los Alamos National Laboratory and the environmental remediation company Newport News Nuclear BWXT – Los Alamos (N3B).

The funding will support new programs that train more than 50 area students for high-demand jobs as radiological control technicians (RCTs) and nuclear-trained operators. Northern New Mexico College (NNMC), the University of New Mexico-Los Alamos (UNM-LA), Los Alamos National Laboratory and N3B are collaborating to make these programs a reality.

Workforce Solutions Department Secretary Bill McCamley announced the news at NNMC in Española, at a July 30 event also attended by State Higher Education Department (HED) Secretary Kate O’Neill. The financial support comes through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and through apprenticeship funding, and will assist students with tuition and salary dollars.

“These programs serve as gateways to good jobs in key areas with both employers,” said McCamley. “This sort of collaboration between the State, higher education institutions and employers provides students with a clear path to a profession and stops them worrying about debt as they gear up for new opportunities.”

RCTs and nuclear-trained operators play a vital role at both LANL and N3B by monitoring activities and ensuring that operations are safe and comply with policies and procedures. Employees in these fields have a $42,000 starting salary and can advance to a salary of more than $100,000.

“Northern New Mexico College is honored to be a part of this wonderful collaboration,” said Dr. Rick Bailey, president of NNMC. “We are grateful to Secretaries McCamley and O'Neill for their leadership, and to Laboratory operator Triad and N3B for their partnership. Along with our friends at UNM-Los Alamos, we look forward to providing exciting career pathways for our students and economic development momentum for our community.”

In partnership with Los Alamos National Laboratory, NNMC is offering a two-year associate degree in Radiation Protection that provides career opportunities at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Radiological control technicians help the Laboratory safely conduct operations that are essential to its national security mission.

The NMDWS funding will support tuition for 30 of the initial cohort of 40 students, with the National Nuclear Security Administration and Los Alamos National Laboratory funding the other ten.

“We applaud Governor Lujan’s strong support of these workforce development initiatives that are aimed at impacting people’s lives and our state’s economy,” said Dr. Thom Mason, director of Los Alamos National Laboratory. “Programs such as these are win-win because they prepare local students for good paying jobs and provide the Laboratory with the skilled workforce it needs.”

In partnership with NNMC and courses offered at the DOE’s National Training Center, N3B will offer a 22-month state-registered apprenticeship program to train nuclear operators, with an initial cohort of five students. Combining approximately 2500 hours of instruction and on the job training, successful graduates should receive 50 college credit hours and a program certificate.

“N3B is excited to partner with our Northern New Mexico colleges and universities, along with the Department of Workforce Solutions to provide greater career opportunities to the region,” said Glenn Morgan, president of N3B. “N3B’s primary mission at Los Alamos National Laboratory is to ‘Clean Up the Environment and Protect Our Future.’ We are committed to completing the mission in a safe, efficient and transparent manner while enhancing the education of Northern New Mexico residents and economic development of the region.”

N3B and UNM-LA are offering a 12-week intensive academic program taught at UNM-LA by senior N3B radiological protection personnel, with several hours of hands-on fieldwork under the direct supervision of qualified RCTs. This 10-credit-hour RCT “boot-camp” is a non-registered apprenticeship program for ten students leading to a certificate in Radiation Control.

Dr. Cynthia Rooney, CEO of UNM-LA, remarked, “At UNM-Los Alamos we are committed to serving the Northern New Mexico community, which involves offering quality education and developing workforce pathways to support the needs of the employers in our area. We are delighted to participate in these workforce development programs; we greatly appreciate the strong leadership from Secretary McCamley and Secretary O’Neill and the opportunity to collaborate with N3B, LANL and Northern New Mexico College.”

“We congratulate UNM-LA, Northern New Mexico College, LANL, N3B and Triad for their leadership and collaboration. DWS and HED are partnering to become known as departments that work for students who become skilled workers and for employers who find the talent they need,” said Kate O’Neill, HED Secretary.


About Los Alamos National Laboratory 

Los Alamos National Laboratory, a multidisciplinary research institution engaged in strategic science on behalf of national security, is operated by Triad, a public service oriented, national security science organization equally owned by its three founding members: Battelle Memorial Institute (Battelle), the Texas A&M University System (TAMUS), and the Regents of the University of California (UC) for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. Los Alamos enhances national security by ensuring the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile, developing technologies to reduce threats from weapons of mass destruction, and solving problems related to energy, environment, infrastructure, health, and global security concerns.

About Northern New Mexico College

Northern New Mexico College (NNMC) is a minority-serving institution, offering bachelor's, associate, and certificate programs. The college primarily serves rural communities within a 40-mile radius of its campus in Española, New Mexico, within one of the most underserved regions in the state.

NNMC is also the proud recipient of the 2019 Organization of the Year award from the Greater Española Valley Chamber of Commerce and the 2019 New Mexico STEMY award winner as the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Higher Education Institution of the Year. NNMC also maintains the most affordable tuition and fees of any four-year college in the Southwestern U.S., the third lowest average student debt upon graduation of any four-year college in the country, and the top performing High School Equivalency program in the nation for the second year in a row.

About UNM-LA

The University of New Mexico–Los Alamos (UNM-LA) is an innovative, rigorous, and affordable comprehensive branch community college that provides foundations for transfer, leading-edge career programs, and lifelong learning opportunities. UNM-LA has an open admission policy that permits entry to all interested students. Small class sizes allow students a personalized educational experience. Student Success Associates work closely with students to provide advisement in academics and career counseling. The faculty are highly qualified; a majority are working professionals in the fields they teach. UNM-LA has strong ties to the Los Alamos community and the Los Alamos National Laboratory that create unique educational and professional opportunities for the students. In addition to the RCT training partnership, UNM-LA offers 27 degrees and certificate programs.

About N3B-Los Alamos

Newport News Nuclear BWXT Los Alamos (N3B) is a limited liability company comprising HII Technical Services Division, a subsidiary of Huntington Ingalls Industries, and BWX Technologies. N3B manages the $1.38 billion, 10-year Los Alamos Legacy Cleanup Contract at the Los Alamos National Laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental ManagementLos Alamos Field Office.


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