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New Mexico State University

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Workforce development signing leads to employment opportunities for NMSU and UTEP engineering students

A workforce development agreement signed Wednesday at the Hilton Las Cruces will open employment opportunities to engineering students of New Mexico State University and the University of Texas at El Paso.

From left: Roberto Osegueda, vice provost for research at UTEP, Charles Garcia, director of NewTec, and Steven Castillo, dean of NMSU's College of Engineering, sign a workforce development agreement aimed at providing internships, co-ops and other job opportunities for engineering students. Patricia Sullivan, assistant dean of NMSU's College of Engineering, looks on. (NMSU photo by Darren Phillips).

Steven Castillo, dean of NMSU's College of Engineering, Roberto Osegueda, vice provost for research at UTEP and Charles Garcia, director of the New Mexico Technology Group, LLC, or NewTec, are partners in the accord. NewTec is a contractor for the U.S. Department of Defense and is owned by Lockheed Martin Corporation, Northrop Grumman Mission Systems, the Computer Sciences Corporation and TRAX International.

The goal is to recruit top engineering talent from the universities for employment opportunities under NewTec's contract with White Sands Missile Range.
NewTec's Workforce Development Council will provide recruiting, potential employment, on-site training and advising opportunities and will develop scholarship opportunities at NMSU and UTEP. The council is made up of representatives from the two universities and NewTec.

"These are the kinds of partnerships we want to develop and encourage," William Flores, NMSU provost, said. "They will help workforce training and development as well as economic development."

Castillo said eight percent of all graduating high school seniors in the U.S. wanted to study engineering in college 10 years ago. He said that number has now dropped to four percent.

Furthermore, China has five times as many engineers as the U.S. because it invests a lot of money in its engineering programs.

"This effort will only succeed if we work together," Castillo said. "We must invest not only in our college students, but also in students in kindergarten, elementary school, middle school and high school. We must ensure that they take the right courses that will lead to successful and promising careers in engineering."

Roberto Osegueda, vice provost for research at the University of Texas-El Paso, said many engineering graduates of NMSU and UTEP leave the area because of the lack of job opportunities. He said the signing of the agreement opens up opportunities for faculty and students.

"This agreement is a way to formalize and provide a means to meet our goals in retirement and workforce development, which in turn will support our efforts in making sure White Sands Missile Range meets the challenges of the future and at the same time support local academia in remaining strong and viable," Gilbert Kelley, president and CEO of NewTec, said.