Start of classes at the new workforce training center

LOS LUNAS – In less than a week, the University of New Mexico-Valencia campus will begin its next chapter as the Los Lunas Village Workforce Training Center opens next Tuesday for the semester. of spring.

The 19,000 square foot building is a long term goal coming to life for the branch campus.

The centre’s academic offerings will focus on courses and training relevant to manufacturing and industry, as well as “soft” skills that local business owners believe are needed in the job market.

“We did a survey a few years ago and, oddly enough, one of the main things business people were asking for was soft skills – communication skills, the ability to work in a team – that’s essential” , said Alice Letteney, Chancellor of UNM-Valencia. .

The center houses traditional computer labs, classrooms that can be easily configured for specialized courses, a professional learning lab – a large space that will allow different equipment, such as a large plastic injection mold, to be brought in to hands-on training – library and tutoring space, as well as the new headquarters of the Valencia County Small Business Development Center.

Julia M. Dendinger | News-Photo bulletin
UNM-Valencia Dean of Instruction, Dr. Laura Musselwhite, talks about the various uses of the vocational learning lab at the new Los Lunas Manpower Training Center. Classes at the center start next Tuesday.

The SBDC will maintain its offices at the UNM-Valencia campus in Tomé, while continuing to meet with business owners and start-ups in Belen and Socorro as well.

The new training facility is located at 1020 Huning Ranch East Loop SW, Los Lunas. Optical fiber will entirely connect the new campus to the existing one in Tomé.

“We knew Los Lunas was going to (be an area) of considerable development, and we started to feel very strongly with all the business and industry coming into this area, it would be the perfect place,” Letteney said.

The final price for the building was nearly $8.3 million, which was slightly above the expected cost. The campus has saved for construction costs since 2006 and incurred no debt to complete the project.

“We were able to contain the costs a little better than other projects because during the design process they kind of saw what was going on, so they bought the bundle of wood and RAKS kept it for us,” said Rick Goshorn. , director of commercial operations of UNM-Valencia.

“For the most part, this is really what industrial companies in the region need. Soft skills will be an important component,” he said. “We will also have facilities to offer to anyone who needs to undergo training. Suppose a company launches a new software package or even a new piece of equipment. Instead of figuring out how to send 30 people to Austin for this training, they can bring in the trainer and have the facilities and space they need.

UNM-Valencia Dean of Instruction, Dr. Laura Musselwhite, said there are also plans to use the center for community events, such as a speaker’s series and other offerings that will bring members of the community in the new facility.

Julia M. Dendinger | News-Photo bulletin
The new UNM-Valencia Labor Force Training Center in Los Lunas.

Because the new center is near residential areas, Goshorn said the building has only one floor.

“We met with citizens and the village council and the opinions are very important to the people who live there,” Goshorn said.

The center sits on nine acres donated to the university by the Huning Ltd. partnership, Letteney said, with an option to receive an additional nine acres immediately to the north over the next five years.

“This building uses about 45% of the original nine acres,” Goshorn said.

Courses offered at the WTC this spring include Criminal Investigations, Spanish I, Technology Foundations, Computer Programming Fundamentals, and Professional and Technical Communication.

For the complete spring class schedule, visit valencia.unm.edu/academics/class-schedule.html.



Milton S. Rodgers