Fifteen New Mexicans are well on their way to careers in the high-demand field of 3D printing and smart manufacturing after completing a training program as part of the Ready NM workforce education project.
“These short-term and targeted trainings are key to providing New Mexicans with opportunities in occupations that provide a sustainable wage and strong career pathway,” said Department of Workforce Solutions Acting Secretary Ricky Serna. “We thank the state’s postsecondary leaders for responding to our call for these workforce development trainings which are essential to our economic recovery.”
“If New Mexicans are going to be ready for the careers of the 21st Century and if we want our economy to grow, accessible and affordable education and training programs are the key,” Higher Education Secretary Stephanie Rodriguez said. “Targeted collaborations between higher education institutions and key industries are integral to our state’s economic prosperity. I am thankful for the partnership with our fellow state agencies, Santa Fe Community College, New Collar Network, and all of those working to keep and grow New Mexico talent our state.”
The 3D printing bootcamp was offered via a partnership between Santa Fe Community College and New Collar Network, a nonprofit that is part of MIT’s Fab Lab network. It was funded by Ready NM, a partnership between the New Mexico Departments of Workforce Solutions and Higher Education, and New Mexico Workforce Connections.
The four-week hands-on program was offered free of cost and enabled students to learn in-demand skills and industry-recognized credentials in 3D printing and digital fabrication. Students earned eight micro-certifications leading to a 3D printing operator master badge and project portfolio, a credential recognized by the North American Digital Fabrication Alliance.
Students completing as part of the program’s first cohort presented their projects at the Higher Education Center in Santa Fe this week. Most students had little or no prior experience with 3D printing technologies.
Santa Fe business owner Dora Bostater enrolled in the class after the pandemic caused her scuba business to slow down.
“This course opens up the possibilities so much. The time and sacrifice was well worth it,” Bostater said. “I have talked to people at Los Alamos National Laboratory who have said that there are positions available, and I am so glad I have this opportunity available.”
Local employers Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), Meow Wolf, Jabil, and Westwind report that over 1,000 jobs are currently open and anticipated for the next few years for technicians with 3D printing skills.
“We are thrilled to expand education opportunities for all New Mexicans in collaboration with the New Collar Network. Student and employer-focused training like digital badges propels education into the 21st Century by providing students with opportunities for gaining new skills for engaging in high-paying new collar jobs like 3D Printing as well as realizing a start to pathways to lifelong learning in higher education,” Santa Fe Community College President Becky Rowley said.
The 3D printing boot camp at Santa Fe Community College is one of six projects funded by the state’s Ready NM project taking place at state colleges and universities. A total of $1.5 million in federal workforce funding has been dedicated to supporting the creation of short-term training programs designed to get New Mexicans prepared for diverse work opportunities that lead to immediate and direct employment in in-demand jobs.
Other funded programs include:
- Information Technology at San Juan College;
- Fiber Optic Certification Training at New Mexico State University – Grants;
- Healthcare Administrative Support Training at San Juan College;
- Prep Cook Training at San Juan College; and
- Retail Food Service Training at San Juan College.
The 3D printing boot camp via Santa Fe Community College’s Department of Continuing Education and Contract Training is now enrolling students for the next four-week cohort beginning October 4. Details about the training can be found at NewCollarNetwork.com. To register for this certification and explore other training and career opportunities, visit www.ready.nm.gov.