Celebrating programs for Northern New Mexico students designed to lead them to well-paid careers with Los Alamos National Laboratory and N3B-Los Alamos Tuesday at Northern New Mexico College, are from left, Dr. Rick Bailey, president of NNMC, Rebecca Estrada, LANL community outreach specialist, Dr. Cindy Rooney, CEO of UNM-LA, Kathy Keith, director of the LANL community programs office, Nan Sauer, senior director of the LANL partnerships and pipeline office, Workforce Solutions Department Secretary Bill McCamley and Dr. Dorian Newton, N3B director of technical services. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
Los Alamos National Laboratory director Dr. Thom Mason, left, and N3B president and program manager Glenn Morgan chat Tuesday morning at Northern New Mexico College. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
BY MAIRE O’NEILL
Workforce Solutions Department Secretary Bill McCamley and State Higher Education Department Secretary Kate O’Neill were at Northern New Mexico College (NNMC) in Espanola Tuesday to celebrate some 50 area students ready to participate in training for jobs as radiological control technicians and nuclear-trained operators.
NNMC president Dr. Rick Bailey said the program which is a collaboration between NNMC, the University of Nee Mexico-Los Alamos (UNM-LA), Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and N3B-Los Alamos, is a gamechanger for the way the two colleges do business, for economic development and how higher education and major employers can partner in ways that lift the standard of living for everybody.
“When you have an entire community that’s lifted up by this collaboration, that’s something that’s truly worth celebrating,” Bailey said.
Also on hand were Dr. Cynthia Rooney, CEO of UNM-LA and a large group of LANL, N3B and local officials as well as many students involved in the training programs.
LANL Director Dr. Thom Mason told the group that two weeks ago there were some 1,399 job openings at LANL and that a bunch of them were radiological control technician positions.
“This is a pattern that’s been going on for the last couple of years and we see that continuing, particularly in the recent budget agreement. I think the growth is going to be sustained and it’s important that we work regionally to make sure that we fill that pipeline,” Mason said.
He said he hopes the programs being implemented are the beginning of a trend.
“I can see more areas where it is going to be necessary to sit down with the educational institutions and figure out what the skills we need are and structure a program that can be modeled on what we’re doing here,” Mason said.
He said he was grateful to the state for leading efforts in workforce development bringing support to the students and potential employers. Workforce Solutions will support tuition for 30 of the initial cohort of students in a two-year associate program in Radiological Protection through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, apprenticeship funding and assistance with tuition and salary dollars.
Mason said he was pleased to be at the event with colleagues from N3B.
“I am pretty confident that there will be graduates from the program with Northern that will find themselves in jobs with N3B and equally confident that there will be graduates from the programs with UNM-LA and Northern like the apprenticeship program, that will lead to employment at Los Alamos National Lab. We all will benefit when we’re working together to create those opportunities,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to the graduation ceremony in two years when the participants will be granted their associates degrees, but their interaction with the Lab will start before that and I think that’s a key part of the program.”
Glenn Morgan president and program manager for N3B, said the apprenticeship program has a lot of legs to it and a lot of vision going forward.
“Our parent company, Huntington Ingalls Industries has an apprenticeship program that’s over a 100 years old that they’re modeling this after so it’s not something that’s new to us but it’s new to this area and it does make a difference. In fact at our home office, the apprentices that come out are about 40 percent of the executive leadership team. So, it is truly a pathway to where you need to get to,” Morgan said.
He said N3B is committed to community development and the apprenticeship is one part of that.
“We committed five percent of our earned fee to go to the community and out of that five percent, about 60 percent goes to education. This is part of that education that we’re building for the future of Northern New Mexico and making it a better place to live and work. Like Thom (Mason) said, we are going to collaborate and there will be exchanges of workers back and forth but we all have our own mission to support the national government and what they do. These programs build a nice local workforce that we’re looking forward to and excited about ,” Morgan said.
He said N3B is committed to cleaning up the environment to protect the future and will do that in a very safe and transparent manner.
“You’ll hear more from N3B out in the community telling you what we’re doing and how we’re doing it and getting their engagement on decisions to be made as we go forward,” Morgan said.
Secretary O’Neill said she is excited to see the collaboration with the two colleges.
Cabinet Secretary for Higher Education Dr. Kate O’Neill said the collaboration demonstrates what can happen when there is “this kind of synergy”
“When you have the whole becoming more than the sum of its parts – that’s Higher Education, Workforce, the Labs – everyone coming together to combine resources to get where we need to go,” she said. “Congratulations and we look forward to more collaborations such as this and we are poised and ready on behalf of Higher Education d to think outside the box on initiatives like this that we need to be doing more of.”
“Isn’t this cool? Isn’t this really cool?,” McCamley asked, adding that Workforce Solutions is excited to be part of the program.
“This program is about providing a real pathway to students and saying look, getting a bachelor’s degree doesn’t have to be the only way you can succeed anymore. You don’t go into debt and you are going to go into a job that’s going to pay you good money. I have a Master’s degree from Harvard, which is pretty good. My girlfriend has a two-year radiology degree from community college. She does MRIs and mammographies. Until seven months ago, she made way more money than I did. And so these pathways, these options that give people a way to get their education without getting into debt, to make sure they get paid while they get this education and get a good job is great,” he said.
McCamley said the program is being described as, “Earn while you learn with the three Ps”.
“We want people to get paid while they learn, we want them to get a piece of paper at the end of their process showing that they have certain skills and we want them to have a fulltime position waiting for them. We just started the process a couple of weeks ago in Farmington with a welding program. This is the second of our initiatives we’re rolling out statewide. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham believes in building a strong, flexible way for all of our students to get this education, lead good lives and build their communities,” he said.
Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Dr. Thom Mason speaks during Tuesday’s event at Northern New Mexico College. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
N3B environmental remediation manager Joe Legare, left, chats with Michael Hazen, Los Alamos National Laboratory associate director for Environment, Safety, Health & Quality and Safeguards & Security prior to Tuesday’s event at Northern New Mexico College. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
Ernesto Martinez and his mother, Jesusita Jaramillo, at Northern New Mexico College Tuesday morning. Martinez is part of the radiological technician program starting at Northern. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
Attendees participate in a tour of a laboratory at Northern New Mexico College which houses equipment on loan from Los Alamos National Laboratory for the radiological technician and nuclear trained operators at the college. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
Jeremy Salazar speaks with Workforce Solutions Department Secretary Bill McCamley, left, and UNM-LA CEO Dr. Cindy Rooney following a celebration Tuesday at Northern New Mexico College of programs allowing area students to be trained as radiation control technicians and nuclear trained operators. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
Future radiology control technicians and nuclear trained operators lilsten to N3B president Glenn Morgan speak Tuesday at Northern New Mexico College, Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
Northern New Mexico College president Dr. Rick Bailey, right, introduces Joaquin Gallegos, associate professor of environmental sciences at the college. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
Students gather with representatives of Northern New Mexico College, UNM-LA, LANL and N3B and the Department of Workforce Solutions at NNMC Tuesday morning. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com